Secret Garden

A few years back, Mark and I lived in our shittiest apartment.  To this day I call it The Dump, and it will always be remembered as such.  I cannot actually go into detail about its grossness.  Never mind we were living like college kids at the time, both of us having caught the late bus to adulthood.  Suffice it to say, it was cheap, it was terrible, and we hated it.

One day I was in the backyard and discovered a plot behind the garage.  Now, it looked like it was part of our yard, as the neighbors yard extended back there as well.  Later we discovered the whole thing was just a vacant property plot.  But at the time, I thought it was ours.

It was huge, and there was room for Buddy, our four year old Pitbull at the time, to run around in circles and roll in the grass. It reminded me of the book The Secret Garden, which I loved as a child, and I got the idea to plant a few things.  Mark and his buddy found me some boards, and I bought some dirt, and built myself a little vegetable garden behind the garage.  That year I grew peas, beans, squash, and a single cucumber.  I also worked on the flower patch we had and grew beautiful sunflowers out front in an effort to make it look like someone actually lived in The Dump.  I found that I really liked gardening, despite a childhood where my mothers offer to help her pull weeds sounded like a death sentence.

When we moved, I switched to houseplants.  I have a killer spider plant that gives off dozens of babies every few months, a huge aloe plant that came from a tiny pot I got at my old theater many years ago, shamrocks from my mother, some unidentifiable beautiful thing from Beth, and others.  I love houseplants.  They’re like a little garden for your home.  I desperately want to go to one of those Plant Nights I’ve heard about.  Jaime and her mother went and made awesome little succulents.

This year, I am blessed.  My friend Carey just moved in downstairs of us, and has graciously offered to me the vegetable patch in the backyard.  Yesterday I planted beans and peppers.  Tomorrow is cukes and squash, and Mark got me these great boxes for growing spinach.  As I sat in the dirt and pulled up the weeds I thought about how gardening has helped me.  For one, it calms me down.  I find relief in pulling the weeds up and peace in putting the seeds in the ground.  Another, it gives me ideas.  I work on stories in my head while I garden, sometimes without even realizing it.  It’s almost a form of meditation for me.

So, I am looking forward to this summer as I get to do veggies in the yard and flowers in the bed out front.  I noticed that the peony (one of my two favorite flowers) that my mother gave me last year has a bud on it, so I am just waiting for that to pop.  I look forward to the seasons through my plants, and they help me find joy in simpler things.  I hope everyone can find a hobby that brings them that kind of fulfillment.

purple flower buds
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on