As I think back on all the gardens I’ve grown, I realize that each one mirrored what was happening in my life at the time. As I grew and changed, so did my gardens.
My college “garden” consisted of an air fern in a toilet shaped planter (which I thought was hilarious). Since the air fern didn’t require water it was impossible to kill. It was the perfect garden for a busy young student.
When Jerry and I got married, we lived in a duplex in the city. We had some beautiful house plants. I killed them all. I either watered them too much or forgot to water them at all. I wasn’t ready to take on nurturing yet.
I was pregnant with my third child when we moved into a little house in the suburbs with a 3/4 acre yard. I went garden crazy! We grew every kind of fruit and vegetable known to man, including grapes, Asian pear-apples and kiwis. The kids would take their cereal bowls outside in the morning and pick berries off the vines for breakfast and each meal was planned around what was ripe that day. It was blissful.
When we left our little house and moved to five acres in the woods, I mourned the loss of that sweet garden. You would think that five acres would allow us to grow even more variety, but I swear that the deer watched me plant and then ran out of the woods to eat it all. Plus, because of all the trees, we had shade for most of the day. So, we kept the land pretty much in its natural state. We had tall trees, ferns, and wild huckleberries and that was pretty much it (except for lots of chubby deer!).
A few months ago we moved to a house in a small town. We have a huge backyard and lots of light. I am ready to garden once again. I pictured having a nice square garden bed with straight rows of lush vegetation. Instead, my granddaughter came over to “help”. She grabbed seed packets and took great joy in flinging seeds with wild abandon. There are clumps of seedlings emerging in strange piles and I don’t have any idea what is planted where.
Like all the others, this garden perfectly matches my lifestyle. I’ve let go of so many of my “shoulds” and replaced them with a looser look at life. In this garden, plants will mingle with each other and grow in uneven, unruly patterns. Tiny people will be allowed to roam free and pick whatever they want. There won’t be a lot of pesky rules to follow.
You know, I think this garden will be my favorite by far.