My dad is an excellent gardener and always has been. I have fond memories of sitting on the porch eating sweet watermelons that he had grown in our own backyard. My mom had beautiful flower gardens that she would insist that I help her weed, and she would speak more candidly as we sat in the dirt tugging at unwanted roots. None of this led to me having much of a green thumb. Quite the contrary, actually, I have a history of dead house plants. I am an excellent listener, but leaves and blooms just don’t communicate needs like people do.
I had resigned to just not having what it takes to grow and cultivate much plant life. This was the case until I got to be the guide of a community of young heroes starting a garden. If this was new for them, you wouldn’t know it. Maybe they hadn’t tasted and planned crops based on height and sun location, before. I saw no hesitation though. They accepted the challenge head on and jumped into botany lessons and discussions about pesticides.We marveled together at the asparagus growing tall at Whitehall Farm. They built the beds, laid the soils, planned each square and sowed each seed with hope and joy. These heroes works fastidiously without a trace of self-doubt. They inspired me.
So I spent my birthday weekend in my own backyard, digging the weeds out of an old neglected wooden garden bed. I planned according to the sun and I researched soil. I chose complementary plants and veggies that I would be excited to harvest and put them in the earth. I felt immense pride at having tried something that I had written off as too hard. I used the growth mindset that we talk about every day in the studio to quiet my own hesitation. It is hard to try something new or that you have previously failed at at. The heroes do this every day. They face academic challenges and emotional ones and they are gracious with themselves and other as they learn and grow. I don’t know if my first attempt at gardening will yield anything edible but I enjoyed the process and I feel thankful to be surrounded by a community of courageous learners.