It all started with an aloe. Years ago, my roommate Doug brought home an aloe plant. It was in pretty good shape. Doug moves out, we moved on but the aloe was still there. It continued to grow and thrive. I didn’t know how, we hardly watered it. But the lack of love didn’t seem to bother the aloe much.
When we started preparing to purchase our new house, something in me clicked. I wanted to make it a home. I wanted our little family of two to thrive as much as our incredibly resilient aloe. I started paying more attention to the aloe. I put it in a sunny window set water reminders in my cell phone and before long there was a tiny new plant resting between the thick mature leaves. I happily gave it its own pot and thanked my aloe for its gift. That’s when I started talking to the plants.
“Good morning mamma aloe! How’s the sun treating you?” I’d rub their leaves and sing to them as I cleaned.
A few months later I decided it was time to upgrade the outside of the house. The front flower beds were just grass then.
I did research and found the best plants for my Zone (7), my light exposure (full), my soil quality, budget and drainage level. I made friends with local garden experts and started spending disposal income at Home Depot and Lowes garden centers.
Without giving it much thought, the garden became my version of therapy. If I was stressed out, I’d start weeding. If I was feeling down, I’d check out how the roses were progressing.
There was always something to do. And so it kept me accountable. If I went too long without tending to it, knee high weeds would provide me with a reality check. Every year it grew. I started in the front, then came the potted plants in the back and now the side garden. I can only imagine where we’ll be 4 or 6 years from now.
I struggled with depression in the past. I’m not ashamed of it. I’d often wonder how I was going to go on. The garden has helped me lay out simple, achievable plans for my future. There are upgrades to come. Additional raised beds to be built. There are plants to be harvested and landscaping to tackle. There are the weekend plans and the five year variety.
Speaking of weekend plans, every fall we pick up roughly 23 lawn and leaf bags full of leaves!! The picture below shows our second raking of the season. The piles are roughly 4 feet wide!
Every year, perennial plants grow larger, more beautiful and spread, so too has my peace.
Growth in the garden: 2 years after first planting.
I love being able to give pieces I’ve grown to the people I love. Harvest days bring me joy.
But the excitement of picking out seeds and planting them now bring me just as much joy.
Seeing the first signs of germination bursting through the soil, it’s thrilling really.
I read a quote once that said something to the effect of growing a garden is believing in the potential of tomorrow.
We all need something that strengthens our belief that we can have better tomorrows. I’m lucky to have found mine.