An Inspiring Mess

Throughout the early spring when most gardeners are perusing catalogs and planning what will be planted where I was planning on taking apart my three raised garden beds. I even declined to enter some really cool giveaways on one of my favorite blogs, Double Danger. It was sad, but between work and a growing list of freelance clients, there was no way I would have time to garden.

An unexpected and happy side effect of being laid off from my 9-5 is that I might now have time to plant a garden.

It works out particularly well because one of my clients is Green Thumbs Galore, which means I am thinking about plants and gardens frequently. Being able to get out there and do some of the things I’m writing about is wonderful.

Today, I decided to spend a little time working in the “garden.” The quotes are there because it could just as easily be “ridiculous weed jungle.” The beds are made of concrete blocks and are each 3 x 8 feet. You cannot see the blocks. All you can see is one huge mess of waist-high grass.

The dogs have been digging in the beds so there are holes all in them. Last year’s dead weeds are still covering the planting area. Dandelions, crabgrass and various other unknown grasses and weeds form a thick, nearly impenetrable wall between each of the three beds.

Usually, such a huge mess would make me feel completely overwhelmed and incompetent. Now that (for a few weeks anyway) I’m feeling slightly less pressure, the mess is inspiring. The idea that I can get turn it into a productive and attractive garden is exciting. However, my friend has told me to keep in mind, just in case the garden becomes too much and I need help later on. He said he’s used that company before and he was pleasantly surprised by the results! For now though, it’s something I can do with all this new time I have.

I was pleased to discover some survivors in the mess, too. A lone, budding echinacea, what I’m fairly sure is oregano and some mint are growing in the beds, along with several nice wild violets. Those are some sturdy plants!

My gardening efforts have never been exactly consistent, but just about every year I plant a few things. Being outside in the sunshine feels good and watching plants grow and thrive feels good. The smells, the physical effort required, the harvest are all part of a ritual that feels ancient and important.

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