Getting into gardening

My neighbour Joel at Wellpreserved.ca wrote a great post called “Loving an Idea vs. Loving the Idea” about his challenges “getting into” urban gardening.

I love it because it addresses issues at the heart of growing things: it’s really about mindset, not about space or time or money. Or even the desire.

I’ve been “gardening” in my back yard for about 8 years now.  At that time I had a nearly bare backyard full of crabgrass, graced with a forsythia, a lilac and an old Manitoba maple.

I started simply, by just letting things grow: violets, forget-me-nots, plantain and wood sorrel, for example. Oh, and I built a deck and a bunch of sheds. I have a shed compulsion.

Gradually, I  added a few things – I was given a little spruce tree, then some raspberries, some bleeding hearts, then some trilliums, then I planted roses, some of my mom’s rhubarb, etc.

Over time things began to get jungly, and now I’ve got a baby white pine, a young hemlock, blueberries, saskatoon berries, white grapes, echinacea, day lilies all living in relative harmony.

But as much time as I’ve spent planting, trimming, and tending, I’ve spent more observing the sun, watching the runoff, learning what blooms when, and asking the backyard what it wants me to do.

The two most important things I’ve learned are:

1) nature happens in nature’s time, in nature’s way

2) gardening is a verb, not a noun

It’s not about getting a product, it’s about becoming a part of the process and figuring out what wants to happen and what my job is in making it happen.

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