Yesterday, we went to a local flower and garden festival with some friends. Earlier last week, I decided to join a local horticultural society, so the festival came at a good time. Or a bad one.
Let me explain.
I am decidedly NOT a gardener. I don’t really like dirt under my fingernails, or worms, or ticks, or (worst of all) little, harmless garden snakes. I don’t enjoy spending hours in hot sunlight, though I love being outside, and I will get a horrible sunburn in less than ten minutes. I’ve never been able to reliably keep a plant alive, much less help one grow from seed to bloom.
But, I’ve always loved flowers. I love nature. I love the sound of buzzing honeybees and the earthy, sweet fragrance of lavender and roses. I love the way light dapples through green leaves, and the feeling that everything around me is breathing and part of something bigger, something that will last long after I’m gone.
All of that to say, I am NOT a gardener, but I WANT to be.
I am surrounded by amazing gardeners. Graham’s mother is so talented, and her back garden looks like something out of a fairy story. Many of our friends care for boxwoods that are over a century old. We never have to look far for vegetables fresh from someone’s back yard vegetable patch, and they really do taste so much better.
Meanwhile, the state of our garden is mostly…wild. I’m being kind to myself here.
The honest truth is this: I’m intimidated by it, and so I’ve let it grow untamed and unkempt for most of the time we’ve lived in this house.
I’m not proud. In fact, I’m mostly embarrassed, and a little ashamed. But it amazes me that even without any help, any human hands nudging things along, it is still a beautiful space, and flowers still grow, like clockwork, every year.
I spent a lot of time thinking about that yesterday, as we walked by lots of stalls full of little green stems and leaves and colorful blossoms that I could not identify and would not know the first thing about planting. On the one hand, knowing that the earth will do what it does, regardless of my meddling, is something of a relief. On the other, I can’t help but imagine what our garden could be if I just learned to try, to get over my worry and my fear that I’ll do something wrong, and just…garden.
I don’t trust myself, but I do trust nature.
And so, I think that this will be the year. This will be the start. I’m going to learn to plant things, and nurture them, and help them grow. I’m going to be patient with myself, but I’m not going to allow myself to make excuses. I’m going to try. I’m going to go for it, because it’s worth going for, and because I know I can, with a little effort and time. I’m going to do it, even if it’s hard.
I’m going to be a gardener.