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. This way I don’t get upset when the plants die.
My Mom had a huge garden. She was the kind of Mom who asked for power tools for Mother’s Day rather than flowers. She needed the tools to work on her garden so she could grow her own flowers. It was common to find her outside moving rocks 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. You could tell what month it was by what was blooming.
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 was “gifted” and I “picked up ideas fast” (according to her) that she didn’t have to teach me. Even if that is true, I still have to be taught to start with. By never showing me at all, she unthinkingly shortchanged me.
I remember one time she was surprised when saw me cleaning up a plant by taking out all the dead leaves. She wondered out loud how I learned how to do that. I still 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 because of this.
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 so they die because of neglect. I’ve taken to putting plants in areas I have to walk by so I have no excuse to forget about them.
I’ve decided to be patient with myself and with the process. Just pick an area and a plant or two. Go outside and enjoy being outside. Admire the bugs and butterflies. Commune with the Creator. Just try. Because like fishing, the point isn’t about catching fish. The point is to be outside, in nature, enjoying the day.