My container garden
About, Creating Change

Preparing for Failure: Adventures of a beginning gardener

Gardening is a memory/flashback trigger because many of the women in my family were/are gardeners and our relationships are complicated. Then there were the in-class experiments during elementary, middle and secondary school that sometimes worked, often failed and made me an easy target for bullying because gardening and plants were boring and un-cool compared to anatomy and physiology. Or all the people constantly telling me I had a black thumb and was responsible for killing so many plants/hurting animals and people. Or that I was too slow and should just stay away because I was getting in the way of their work. Lots of negative messages around gardening and working with nature, something I've always enjoyed. I was the girl with the rock collection who loved the science museum and walking barefoot on the lawn. The girl who watched bugs and let them crawl on her (until the trainers used that as punishment and torture so now I feel anxiety any time they get too close) while investigating the trees and plants in her neighborhood.

These days, I can acknowledge that people from my past most often shamed and ridiculed me about my activities when it was something I showed talent for or was good at in some way.

And that is part of why I want to start gardening. I love plants and enjoy being around them. They create community and offer companionship in their own unique ways. It's a symbiotic or mutually beneficial relationship between the plants and me (or myself?) where we take care of each other in a shared home environment. The plants bring color, life, clean air, sometimes food, and beauty into our home. In return, I provide shelter, water, warmth or cool air, nutrition, music, and some pest management.