In an article entitled “Words of wisdom to my younger self about gardening” Fran Sorin writes on her blog over at gardeninggonewild.com about the advice she would give to the young mother that she was thirty years ago. She has compiled a list of fourteen tips that she would pass on to her younger self starting with the need to become acquainted with your plot. Regard gardening as an adventure and don’t be a perfectionist.
Today is my birthday. Like most days, after taking a few sips of my morning coffee and giving thanks for being alive, I go out onto my rooftops to awaken my senses. Because I?m such an early riser, I observe the stars and moon begin to fade as daylight takes over.
It never ceases to amaze me, especially in the quiet of the early morning, how magical the garden feels. It doesn?t matter if my urban garden is in full bloom during the spring and summer or if the blooms are less abundant, like this time of year. I discover the beauty in what is presently there.
This attitude is so very different than what I experienced when I began to garden over 30 years ago. Today I look back at that young mother who knew little about parenting ? and just a tad more about gardening ? with empathy and love.
If I were to meet her today, here are some words of wisdom I would pass onto her.
- Become acquainted with your property. Take the time to familiarize yourself with trees, bushes, perennials and bulbs. If you don?t know the names of them, don?t worry. You?ll find out soon enough. The important thing is to get up close, and to look, touch and smell. Also, feel your land. Let it speak to you. Each property has its own history, energy, and aura.
- Develop a beginner?s mind. If you experience fear when you start learning something new, that?s OK. It?s more common than you think. Just note the fear and then try to ?drop it?. Even if it persists, don?t let it stop you from moving forward with gardening. Rollo May wrote in The Courage To Create that we create, not because we don?t have fears, but in spite of them.
- Perceive gardening as an adventure. It truly is one of life?s great joys and mysteries. An entire curriculum for elementary, middle, or high school students could be developed around gardening ? including history, math, english, science, art and whatever else a teacher wanted to include. Can you imagine how exciting that could be?
- Start slowly. Select plant material that?s easy to grow and that you can reap pleasure from quickly like a butterfly bush, perennial grasses, sunflowers, veggies, and some native perennials.
- Take the time to learn the basics of gardening before spending a lot of money and time on developing your garden. There is a plethora of wonderful resources on the internet that offer a slew of terrific information. Invest in at least a couple of books that can serve as references as you begin your journey as a gardener.