I am a self-proclaimed terrible gardener. Ok, let me correct myself: I am a self-proclaimed novice gardener. I am in my mid-30’s now and before this year it has been more than 20 years since I last attempted gardening. My parents had a huge garden and as much as I looked forward to summers, I hated that it involved having to pull weeds in the garden for hours in the hot, humid Midwestern sun. There was a river behind our house. Why wouldn’t you ask me to do something I enjoyed Mom and Dad? Like go play on the rope swing and jump into the river. Gardening was my summer nemesis. I hated it. Even when we would get a good crop of corn, tomatoes, carrots and the like, it only meant more work for me.
Move ahead several years in my life and I recently attempted to revisit that horrific practice of tending living things in hopes of not screwing it up so badly that you kill your project. I am a bachelor living in Seattle and you can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting someone that has started a garden on their back porch or at the very least, has a planter box in their high rise apartment that they are growing herbs in. Everyone’s doing it and experiencing at least moderate success. Why not me?
I started with a blueberry tree last summer. It produced 1 blueberry that I savored for a full minute in my mouth upon finally letting its branches relinquish it. This summer I have a tomato plant that has doubled in size but has yet to produce any fruit, and a blackberry bush that everyone gives me a hard time about. Blackberry bushes literally lines the streets everywhere in the PNW. But, my answer to these pundits is “Hey, those are on the street. This is on my porch. You do the math”. They shrug and concede to my clever response. So, I unknowingly bought probably the most common fruit producing plant in the PNW. I am not a Northwest native so I plead ignorance. And hey, who couldn’t use more blackberries anyway?
My blueberry tree looks the most promising so far. There are several round shapes that have formed on the branches that I assume MUST be blueberries! The best part about growing things is that it gives me a way to exude positive energy into something that is beautiful and natural. It beings me a great sense of accomplishment and joy to see my plants grow and flourish. Even if they don’t produce an abundance of fruit and vegetables, they didn’t die on my watch. Yet.
The Zen I find in all nature is something I have been able to translate into something easily accessible and equally rewarding. The perfect morning consists of breakfast and coffee on my patio, followed by careful tending to my beautiful green things. They are living things and I feel their energy and share it with everything and everyone else around me. Gardening is most certainly cathartic and I definitely recommend that everyone take a shot at growing life.