5 Things Gardening Taught Me About Writing

Diane Callahan
15 min readJun 4, 2023
5 Things Gardening Taught Me About Writing over pictures of flowers and tomatoes

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.

From left to right: dahlias, morning glory (blue picotee), zinnia

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.

From left to right: Big Kahuna green beans, Connecticut field pumpkins, California Wonder green peppers

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.