Once upon a time, I lived in an apartment I refer to as The Dump. We lived there for about two years and anything that you could imagine was wrong with it absolutely was. The one little shiny spot however was that behind the garage there was a vacant lot. This left plenty of room for our dog Buddy to play, and, after clearing away some of the brush, it occured to me one sunny afternoon that it would make a lovely garden as well. So, I went out and got some 2x4s and built a little vegetable patch. That summer, as Buddy raced around me, I grew squash, peas, beans, cucumbers, and strawberries. I had never showed any interest as a child when it came to helping my mother with her garden, and it surprised me how much I enjoyed turning seeds into food. I had always assumed gardening was not for me, and only started my veggie patch because I was out of work and needed something to do.
I have the ability to grow food at this house, but haven’t tried it yet. My neighbors are planting a few things and have promised to share the crop. What I do now is tend the front garden, where I am growing purple salvia and bright pink peonies the size of a baby’s head. Last week I rescued a dying gloriosa daisy and soon it will grow alongside them.
Then, there’s my indoor garden, which I love the most, especially in winter when I’m dying to see something green. First there’s my spider plant, who came to me in a tiny milk carton from an actress friend and now is a huge hanging pot with dozens of babies dangling from it. There were more, but I gave one to each of my aunts, uncles, and cousins as Christmas gifts and still it continues to grow. There’s my aloe plant, given to me after a show in a tiny painted pot, which massively overgrew it and now takes up most of the table. I have a shamrock and superbells from my mother (the latter should really be put outside but I love looking at them every day.) I have a pansy and geranium mix that I just bought, and a dieffenbachia I got for my birthday, along with an unidentified little pot of purple flowers. There are poppies I’m trying to grow, and a spider plant baby that I hope will some day match its mama.
I remember being a child in my grandmother’s garden. She grew roses for each grandchild; mine was peach-colored. She had raspberry bushes and would let me pick them. I think that was probably my first look at gardening. In youth I didn’t think much of it, but as I have gotten older I appreciate it more and more. I find solace and peace in the garden, and often have wonderful story ideas or surprising mental breakthroughs when my hands are deep in the warm soil. It has become a therapeutic tool for me, and one that I never thought I would be using. When I’m in my garden I’m thinking of my gram, and my mom, and all the wonderful bits of nature that I get to experience in those instances. It quite literally brings me back to earth.