|Gerbera Daisies about to blossom.
Gardening has become, for me, time well spent. I amaze myself with how much time I waste doing things I don't really care for or that don't offer any real satisfaction. Most of these things are a matter of convenience and entertainment. I think I want them, but once I'm done with it I feel like I've wasted time I can never get back. I never feel that way after gardening. I always feel like I've contributed somehow, like I made a connection to the source of what matters. I know that sounds all new-agey or "mother-earthy," but it's true.
I guess I feel like there's certain things us humans were intended to do. And when I garden it stirs some deep place in me to recognize it's calling. Suddenly the smoke screen of my daily life falls and I see life the way it is meant to be lived. Simply. Sustainably. With dirt under our nails and no corners cut.
Since I finished school last December I have a thing called "free time." Have you heard of it? If you currently don't have it you don't know what you're missing. You need to stop and re-evaluate life, right now, to make room for it. Finally I am able to do things I want to do. Finally I learned what it means to have a hobby. I feel like a brand new person, honest to goodness. They say a hobby is something you enjoy doing even if you don't get paid for it. Gardening is one, and cooking is another. When I graduated and had the "ok, what now?" moment I thought, why not go back to school to get your culinary arts degree?! But then I realized I just want to cook like a chef so I can do so for my family, not so I can own my own a bakery or restaurant. See? Hobby!
|Bibb lettuce, almost ready for pickin'.
The best thing about a hobby is that, often, it is something you can do on your own, without help, so you can not only find a little solitude, but a little confidence in your craft. I love gardening because it gives me some quiet time to think. Thinking is my all time favorite hobby, and when combined with the outdoors the mind just explodes. I learn so much from each plant, and my brain takes what I'm doing with my hands and translates it into something meaningful. For example...
My petunias, if not watered daily, will start to look lifeless. Also, if you don't pluck off the dead blooms it will stunt growth and stop new blossoms from growing. Hmm...there's a life lesson.
My tomatoes are prone to leaf-miners. If I don't keep an eye on them every day so I can catch the bug early, it will ruin the entire arm of leaves. Lesson.
My mandevilla loves to climb, but it's not a naturally vining plant. It needs to be trained back and forth around the trellis. However, you can't just push them here and there, you have to do it gently, training each piece as it grows at its own pace. If you aren't gentle, the plant won't go where you want it to go. Lesson.
I'm learning so much, and can't wait for the biggest lesson- one that will come with the harvest. You'll see my tomatoes and peppers below are so close I can almost smell them simmering in my pan. Grow, my babies, grow!
|Tomatoes just weeks away from harvest.
|Red bell pepper so big I needed twine to keep the stem erect!