If I’m being honest, while I am an enthusiastic gardener, I am not a talented one. I lack patience and gardening is not something that rewards shortcuts. I often stick plants in the dirt without properly mixing the soil (I live in red clay country), adding mulch to keep moisture in (long, hot Southern summers), or even really considering what patch gets how much sun. As a result, my gardening style isn’t “English country” or “Carolina Piedmont” as much as it’s “Darwinian,” as in “dig a hole, plant, and wish them good luck.”
Still. I have aspirations.
I enjoy working in the garden. Whether the flowers are in the ground (I may have a showplace of daylilies next year!) or in containers on the porch (I picked up a plant stand from the local Buy Nothing Facebook group – I heartily encourage you to seek those out in your area, both for giving and for receiving!), I enjoy taking ten minutes at the end of the day to walk around and water, trim off dead leaves or blooms, and just putter. So much of our lives is spent whirling away and a garden – even a tiny one – forces you to stop and focus on what’s right at hand. I even like the heavy work of weeding and pruning (although I always fret that I’m not doing it “right”). You seldom get so much return on your investment as you do when you wheel a barrow-load of debris down to the curb and you can really see the impact your work has made.
This year, I had some success with edible plants. A handful of home-grown Roma tomatoes, more basil than you could shake a pesto spoon at, and the occasional cucumber. I have my eye on a few others – I finally have a purple bell pepper coming in and I think I’m going to get lucky with a few late canteloupe. (In the interest of honesty, my beans and leeks are puny. WHO CAN’T GROW BEANS? Kindergartners put them in Dixie cups! Sigh.)
Of course, I hope for more next year. More plants in better locations, more blooms attracting more butterflies, more flowering shrubs being pollinated by bees, more vegetables, tidier berry bushes, and more whimsy in the form of more colored lights, dancing wind chimes, and so on.
That’s the thing about gardens – they take time. And I’m so pleased that I spent stretches of time outside in this yard of ours. In every place I’ve lived, I’ve put in some sort of garden – from my first post-college apartment when I planted a dozen daffodil bulbs by the front stoop to my first house where I had dahlias growing in a tiny six-foot patch I wrenched from the grass by hand, to my first “on my own” house with its hand-built herb spiral, to this wonderful place we chose together to make our home, where I have So Many Plans. There’s just always been a garden.
Maybe enthusiasm is enough to carry me through a little longer.