So, the title of this post may be slightly misleading, but I am going to say that in comparison to where I was at this time last year, I am a freakin’ plant expert.
I have never liked gardening, and I think it is for two main reasons:
1. I have never been good at it
2. A nearly debilitating fear of snakes
(If you want to learn more about the latter, click above. You’ll read about the time a few months ago when I saw a snake at the bus stop and we called the police. And that was me at my most rational when it comes to those terrifyingly slithery serpents.)
Now, gardening has become a part of my daily life. A lovely part of my daily life. Therapeutic, even.
I have posted so many times about how our house has always felt enchanted to me, with new perennials popping up every day and the coolest trees ever, but nothing compares to my greenhouse.
I have written about it a lot (even, most recently, comparing my best friends to the different plants that I am growing).
I even updated my Instagram to the new version (UGH! I HATE CHANGE!) just so that I can now make and view “Insta Stories” and if you follow my own daily “Insta Stories” you will note that approximately 92% of them involve something that I am eating and approximately 77% of what I am consuming is from my greenhouse.
Not in real life, obviously, but on Insta Stories.
There is something really magical to me about tending to my plants, seeing them grow, watering them, pruning them and then harvesting them. And this is the thing: I really USE these plants. And my kids have gotten involved, too, which warms my heart so. My son, who literally eats some form of a cracker for most of his meals, will go out into the green house, pull off a leaf of sweet basil and start chomping away. (Maybe he thinks that it is a soft green cracker?)
Anyway, last night my dad called to tell us a story about the rural plot of farmland on which they are building a country home. Do you remember this? He said something to the effect of, “I am going to have someone make a few acres into real farmland and see if they will tend to it like an actual farm.” (I paraphrase.)
“No! Don’t hire someone! I can do it! I’m a gardner now!” I exclaimed, passionately.
My dad and husband burst into laughter, almost so hard that they could not speak.
“Stop!” I whined. “Look at all that I have grown! I water every day! And I even use those things to take off the dead leaves!”
I do not think that I will be managing several acres of farmland in the near future.
I think that now is a good time to share with you the 4 awesome things that I have done with the literal and proverbial fruits from my garden in just the past day. Is any of this particularly extraordinary? No. But it means a lot to me.
1. I pickled hot and sweet peppers
My husband has the amazing time-lapse video of this process on his private Instagram site, but I cannot figure out how to share it on here. So either request to follow him on Instagram or trust me that it was SO COOL! And though we both felt as though we had just been maced, there was something so magical about taking our homegrown jalapeños and sweet peppers and turning them into this
Later this evening I will likely be putting these on both a hotdog and my Insta Stories.
2. I made a shower scrub
I think that this looks weird and will admit that it is not the most appealing photo (I can work on the marketing) BUT OMG this stuff smells and feels divine. It is a combination of coconut oil, coarse pink himalayan sea salt and herbs from my garden. I blended together spearmint, peppermint and sweet basil and this has been sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks now, only to be opened last night. It is amazing, it feels virtuous and the smell is so awesome that I literally took some of the extra and rubbed it on my body as a lotion.
It is just so darn ugly.
3. I infused water
This would perhaps be less exciting BUT do you see that pitcher up there? I have to drink the entire thing today, plus some more, and so anything that I can do to make it more appealing is supremely helpful.
Blackberry and mint water? Yes, please!
While this may seem like the most simple of things, for me it is the most meaningful.
Today, as an exercise in healing, I lingered in the greenhouse, tending to my different plants–
staking them, pruning them, watering them, trimming them, propping them up in positions that would qualify them for Cirque du Soleil if they were not–you know–plants.
It served many purposes for me: It slowed me down; it provided me with tangible evidence of accomplishment (being able to walk back into my house with an armful of fresh herbs); it quieted my mind.
So, while my thumb may not be green, and while I have yet to figure out a way to grow crackers on a vine, I am proud of how far I have come. In a lot of ways, actually.
And, despite the teasing about investing in a pair of overalls (which I did, thank you much!), I have changed. And grown. Just like my plants.
Because I’m a gardener now!
Or, at least, a little bit closer every day.