Saturday, April 17, 2010

Garden Simplicity

I don’t want to get all Martha Stewart on you guys, but I’m actually getting attached to the garden in my building. There is something about the color of the flowers and the texture of the leaves that instills in me an incredible amount of peace. It’s during these times that I regret not having a permanent place of my own where I could have my own personal garden.

I know next to nothing about gardening. The truth is that every plant I have ever had has suffered a slow, painful death under my care. There was the small potted plant on my desk in college that ended up in the garbage after 3 weeks. Another 3-4 plants died mysteriously when my folks left the country and left me in charge. And let’s not even get into the time I tried to grow spices in my apartment in NYC.
I never really understood the roots of my plant murder spree. Maybe I just wasn’t all that conscientious about watering them properly. Or maybe the cause is deeper. Maybe my plants died because I never really understood them.

After spending weeks walking by this garden I’ve noticed things that, while obvious to those who love plants and flowers, came as an absolute shock to me: plants are living, breathing, miracles of nature. Their growth and shape is determined by the contours of their surroundings. They react to sunlight, cold, warmth and rain. You can casually spot a flower bud in the morning and come home to see a beautiful fully-grown flower. Plants MOVE during the day.

Plants are ALIVE.


JoAnna said...

Lovely garden! You're right about plants. My three year old talks to the vegetables in her garden. Is it weird that she talks to her plants? I don't think so, at least she eats everything she grows and I'm thrilled that she's not inside sitting in front of the TV.
Your blog is so interesting! I just discovered it this week and have enjoyed a few reads as time has allowed. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Kim Richard Smith said...

It's tough for me, too, sometimes--that is, not having my own space to grow my own garden. But it has been my experience that having the time and freedom to wander past anyone else's garden outweighs the benefits of ownership.

Sara Outdoors said...

I just love gardening. I think you'll do well with it once you WANT to do well with it. Baby plants are just that - babies. They need love and attention. It really is an artform to grow something that literally bears fruit whether it be actual fruit or a flower or just the satisfaction of having grown something.

Memie said...

Jack, you're absolutely correct regarding the calming nature of a garden. Although I'll have to respectfully bow out of the enjoyment of constructed and otherwise 'man-made' gardens...I can't help but see the limits that have been placed on them...that's just me though. I've always been one to scatter wildflowers on my lawn and let them take over the grass and where ever they wish to grow...I've always understood that plants can sense your 'energy'. If you're convinced you'll kill it, perhaps you will regardless?

SimplyMe said...

Jack, I love your comments about the garden. It's funny how we can walk past thousands of trees and plants in our lifetime, but then one day it hits us how cool they really are. This happened for me last spring, the first time we planted a vegetable garden here in Las Vegas. I was amazed how tomatoes and chives and herbs could grow in the desert - and how much joy a few seeds-turned-veggies brought investment of a few bucks brought both happiness and a summer of food. I'm off and running again this year and am about to use some garlic the minute I hit publish. Thanks for making me appreciate it even more!

Unknown said...

Like you, Jack, I have killed numerous plants, but I keep trying. And like you, I have gained a new appreciation for them, especially living in the desert, where seeing plants come to life at this time of year is nothing short of amazing. I have even started gardening with my sister-in-law, and being part of the Earth, watching little starters and clippings grow into huge foliage and food, is absolutely amazing. I'm glad you're seeing it in your own life.

LAS said...

Have you read "Into the Wild" and "The Last American Man"? There seems to be a running link between the choice to remove oneself from society's dictates and the decision to embrace nature and a natural way of being.

In any event, the first thing I do when I've had it with my obligations is hike into the woods. Being in the middle of that magnificent display of life is beyond restorative.

Chris Burrows said...

Nothing is as calming or satisfying as working in my garden.
Plants are like people a little TLC and know what they like , some love sun ,some like shade,they all need soil, water and light.
A relationship with a plant is like any other, you need to get to know it , what it's needs are and commit to tending to it
Maybe before having a child people should have to keep a plant alive for a year?

Dawne said...

This is actually the second time I've stumbled onto your blog and I love seeing the progression through it... As to the garden thing I have to say my favorite part is taking off my shoes, scrunching my toes in the grass and then doing a cart-wheel.. Its silly and fun and reminds me not to take myself too seriously.. I hope you continue on towards what you want to be :)


mKat said...

The garden is gorgeous. I am a little plant obsessed. Every room in my condo has a plant - multiple plants. I don't know what it is, but I find plants very soothing.

I visited DC last week and checked out the Botanic Gardens. It was absolutely gorgeous... I definitely recommend a visit.

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Rah said...

nice blog. write some more.

Reading up a storm said...

Alive indeed - we are in the middle of several month drought and my garden is now lava and weeds. I'm putting in purslane, akikuli and other sedum type plants. Three months from now, I figure it will bless us again.
Natalie (living off the grid)- Hawaii

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Friko said...

Of course they are;
It took you a long time to find out this most basic fact of life on this earth. Look after them!

Alice said...

Such a beautiful garden! I read some of your blogs and simply loved them!! You speak so profoundly, it surprised me becuase I'm surrouned by a bunch of idiots that I sometimes forget that another human life form can speak in an intelligent matter! I can't wait to read more!

Liz said...

Hi Jack! Gardening is communing with life in it's most peaceful form. I know you will continue to enjoy it.
(They grow majestically when classical music is played for them)

I have just started blogging and found yours. I like what I've read so far and will return.

Your blog title is awesome, by the way!


Kathleen said...

What a beautiful garden! You have a new devoted reader - also a recovering, 30-something attorney in the DC area who is beginning her path to simplicity. Thanks for the information and more importantly, the inspiration.

Ms Hen's said...

Nature is a good way to get back to just BEING.

hugs from nyc..

Betty Ann