I’ve decided to think of gardening as like fishing. Instead of the end result being the goal, the goal is just to do it. That way I don’t get upset when the plants die.
My Mom had a huge garden. It was common to find her outside moving rocks to make a pond area or planting something. There were daylilies and rose bushes and lily of the valley. She planted very few vegetables. Her garden was mostly about pretty flowers. Something different was blooming all the time throughout the year.
She never taught me how to garden. She didn’t teach me how to cook or take care of a house either. She had a strange idea that because I “picked up ideas fast” that she didn’t have to teach me. Maybe I do understand some concepts quickly, but I still have to be taught them. I can’t “pick them up” if I’m never handed them to start with. By never showing me at all, she thoughtlessly shortchanged me.
I remember one time she saw me cleaning up a plant by taking out all the dead leaves and she was surprised. She wondered out loud how I learned how to do that. I get a little angry when I think about this. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t intentionally trying to make my life harder by not teaching me these basic things, but the end result is the same.
I’ve tried to learn how to garden from reading books, in the same way I’ve tried to learn how to cook. I understand a little bit of both but I think I’m missing something. That is fairly common for me. I’ll get the big picture but miss something really essential that is small and easy. I have a lot of “duh!” moments with myself.
My big concern is that I’ll spend a lot of money on plants and then kill them in short order because I don’t know what I’m doing. Either I water them too much or feed them too little or I don’t know how to prune them. I forget to look at them sometimes and they die from neglect. I’ve taken to putting plants in areas I have to walk by so I have no excuse.
I’ve decided to be patient with myself and with the process. Just pick an area and a plant or two. Don’t try to do the whole thing at once. Just enjoy being outside. Admire the bugs and butterflies. Commune with the Creator. Be open to making mistakes, because they are good lessons too. With gardening, like fishing, the point isn’t about catching fish. The point is to be outside, in nature, enjoying the day.