Getting Into the Garden

A couple of years ago, I started a garden. I did it very quietly, very privately. Although my intent was to share it through this blog, those first couple of years were actually a very private journey for me. I started the garden to give me something to take care of, to help me reconnect with the outside world, to claim a space in my domestic life, to have someplace of my own. Gardening is good for that.

The first year, I grew herbs and vegetables - zucchini, cucumbers, peppers. My spacing was a little off and everything cross-pollinated and I ended up with some very interesting produce. The herbs lasted well into the fall, and I made a Thanksgiving center piece out of herbs from my garden.

The second year, I stuck to the herbs. My sage and oregano and thyme survived that first winter into the second year, as did the parsley, only to die off in the summer. I spread things out and added planters of phlox and verbena. I replaced the parsley again and again and it never took that second year. I also replaced the basil, which thrived almost in pace with our consumption.

This year my husband and I are adding bees. He is building out a couple of proper hives this weekend. We will be driving to White Hall in a month to pick up two colonies to get started. And if you want to know how we plan on driving across Harford County with bees in the back of the Subaru, the answer is very carefully.

I am getting started for the season. Yesterday spring finally arrived. It was a sun-warmed 70 degrees. I opened up the house and went out to my little garden patch and removed last fall's leaf cover. The sage and oregano I planted that first year are still very much alive and thriving. It will be a few weeks before I see how the thyme and basil and phlox and verbiage wintered over. I'll be adding more flowering plants to encourage the bees. Plans for expansion will be fleshed out, and I will look for a patch for sunflowers to go in next year.

I started the garden at a time when I needed something to ground me and bind me to my personal life, my life outside of work. It is a very fulfilling endeavor, the caring for plants. Helping them grow and thrive has helped me reconnect with some essential part of myself that I was losing to my pursuit of greatness in corporate America. We are growing together, me and my little garden. It is an journey I am now ready to share.

I leave you with a slideshow of the garden in progress.