When I was younger, I had this vision of a glorious Eden in my own backyard, with vegetables flourishing and flowers blossoming all around. I’d stand amongst the rows of plants in a blue lace dress with a straw sun hat, looking like a picture out of a magazine. I dreamed of unlocking another facet of myself — a version of me that is a gardener who loves the soil beneath her fingernails and the sunlight on her back.
The dream garden I’d always imagined as a child brimmed with dahlias, marigolds, morning glories, and forget-me-nots. I would pick perfect peppers, tomatoes, and beans, breathe in the scene of fragrant herbs and sweet lavender. Most importantly, there would be a pumpkin patch.
Last year, I finally had the backyard space to make that dream a reality. And since I’m pathologically incapable of half-assing anything, my first foray into gardening contained all those plants and more: zinnias, watermelon, foxglove, wildflowers, daisies, strawberries, basil, and rosemary.
As I watched my plants grow from indoor seedlings to a veritable jungle of thriving potted monstrosities, I realized the extent of my insanity. I convinced myself that this endeavor was partially meant to be research for my novel, given that my protagonist gardens as a hobby. Plus, as an editor for Story Garden Publishing, it made sense to lean into the metaphor.
One needs no excuse to garden, of course. But as I looked back at all my plant photos from April to October of 2022, I witnessed how much gardening and writing have in common. They’re both contemplative pursuits that require long-term passion and persistence.