10 Things I have learned about gardening this year (as a non-gardener.)

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A couple of my friends have posted just recently on their social media being somewhere and noticing some leaves changing colour and falling already. Not much of a surprise, given the super extra odd year we have had, what with the temperature going from one extreme to the next for the majority of the ‘summer’.

If leaves are turning and dropping already, that means that soon, I’ll be elbows deep in garden cleanup. This year has been an incredibly educational year for me, as I am more typically a black hand than a green thumb. I’ve killed cacti and pine trees. 😐 But at the beginning of the year, it was decided that this habit NEEDED to change. Not for any particular reason, but more for my own posterity and entertainment. That, and our most incredible grounds lady was moving on.

So with the first season nearly coming to a close, here is a synopses of 10 things I have learned about gardening.

  1. If you have control issues, this is a very attractive pass time. Ahhh yes. All of the daydreaming of the beautiful little worlds you are going to create. The heights, colours, the textures…that A++ perfect esthetic…when so much in the world is out of your hands; this…this can be your salvation…
  2. However. If you have control issues, it also maaaaaayy not be your sport either… Plants follow no rule of human. Especially if you’re new to gardening. And those weeds. Think you’ve got em licked? Guess again…
  3. Nothing on the planet is more determined to thrive, or more inspirational than weeds. Not. One. Thing. These days, every single time you turn on your tv, or open an app on your phone, you are immediately slapped in the face with inspirational adds, and influencers, and life coaches, yadda yadda. But I just scroll past them. It’s really easy to pass off these screen people with a judgmental eye roll, and you know you feel a small amount of disdain for their luck and odd amount of discipline for what ever their thing happens to be. But if you really want to be inspired, look no further than weeds. Yep. How much time, money, and effort to you spend on trying to get rid of them? And yet, some how. SOMEHOW. They just pop right back up where they were. Or over there. Or where they were AND over there. No matter what the world thinks of them, or how many people try to tell them no, you don’t belong, you have no place here, guess what? There they are. Over and over and over again. Try to forcably remove it? ok, no worries! Take my top. But my roots are gonna stay right there and I’ll grow them deeper, and grow right back again. Nothing to support or nourish them? Weeds gonna grow. A nurturing environment? Weeds gonna GROW. We put so much emphasis on flowers, but flowers, for all their praise and beauty, are often so fragile that the smallest hardship can send them into an unrecoverable down spiral. So don’t strive to be a flower. Be a weed.
  4. Your commitment to routine will be thoroughly and solidly tested. Are you more of a spontaneous person? Or are you dedicated and thrive on a schedule type? If you are the former…you may be in for an interesting ride. Unless in your planning stages you morph into the type in point one, and specifically plant and control the contents of your garden to require as little regular scheduled maintenance as humanly possible.
  5. It’s basically yoga. All the bending in strange places, stretching, balancing…I mean, with all the trendy new fads, like goat yoga, you could sound really hip and fancy! “Oh, ya…I did grounding yoga this morning. I really feel rooted and connected to the earth.” It is also clinically proven to reduce blood pressure and stress just like yoga. So there’s that too.
  6. When you are stuck on anything, go weed something for a couple hours. It is absolutely amazing the clarity that comes from getting lost in weeding. It is a highly cathartic experience! Have a big conundrum? Go weed a garden. Have too much on the brain? Go weed a garden. Don’t have a garden? We have plenty to help you out.
  7. Your perception of the world around you changes immensely. Though most people won’t care to hear about it. You now name plant varieties in your head.
  8. It can open you up to a lot of other cool spin-off hobbies and information. Im a bit of a part time hippy anyway, and a bit of a foodie, so growing food all barefoot in my own garden has always had something special to it. Also because I need occasional purpose to show off when I cook with epic produce. But as a medical professional, I am really fascinated with how healthcare has advanced over the millennia. From healing being traditionally women’s work, with families passing down knowledge of cultivated and foraged medicinal plants over generations, or a village based healer, to the evolution of the perception of the ‘witch’ with her ‘potions’ (but that’s a TEDtalk for another time). So starting last winter researching and arming myself with information to take on the garden role, I learned a lot of really neat plant based medicines, some of it really easy to make into a soothing salve (hello sunburn relief), as well as local edible forage. It was all intended to go into interpretive gardens, however getting some of them turned out to be harder than reading about them.
  9. Don’t believe those things that say ‘easy planter gardens’. They are lies. Water diligently to ensure they get enough=overwatered and dies despite good drainage. Forget one day = dried to a crisp.
  10. ….and last but not least…. I am now the person who says ‘aren’t these begonias lovely?!’ Just take a moment to let that sink in.