Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Good Gardener

I wish I was a good gardener.

I love the idea of gardening, and I love the satisfaction of eating something I've helped nurture myself. I appreciate the chance to do something physical and earthy for a change, instead of only creating things that are abstract and intellectual. I feel more secure knowing I have a skill that can help my family thrive through tough times, and I especially love the ethos behind gardening - the slow foodness of it, the delayed gratification, the connection to where your food came from and the heart that went into bringing it to your table.

That said, I'm not such a good gardener. I've so far only managed to grow herbs, and any vegetable I've attempted has died a horrible death.

I've been feeling pretty bad about that. It's tough not living up to your own expectations. It's tough not being good at something you desperately want to master.

That's why I loved Gayla Trail's new post on her blog You Grow Girl about what makes a good gardener. Her relaxed approach to gardening and her encouraging advice makes me want to keep at my gardening. Currently I have no yard and a tiny apartment that gets almost no sun. Still, Gayla inspires me to do what I can with what I have, and that's what I will do. I will grow a container garden on the strip of grass behind out apartment building, and I won't beat myself up if I kill a plant or two. As Gayla pointed out, even the best gardeners do that. I will focus on enjoying the parts of gardening I love, and I will do so looking forward to the day when I have my own large yard to fill with plants and a more impressive skill set to coax delicate vegetables into producing.

I think it's good to hear Gayla's reminder to give yourself a little grace and let yourself enjoy the things you love, even for the non gardeners out there. As Gayla says, "the act of gardening serves as an excellent life lesson in accepting one’s failures that extends beyond the garden... Our gardens should be a free space where each of us can find joy, make discoveries, and feel whole. Guilt, shame, and feelings of insecurity have no place there."

I wish that for everyone. Have a peaceful night and graceful gardening.

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