Tools of the trade
We're not fancy gardeners though, it was mostly born out of necessity for food - the older generations being from a farming background. My gardening journey however, hasn't just been limited to food acquisition, thankfully, as I don't grow food very well (yet) because I'm still learning how to.
Everything I put in the ground nonetheless, requires a practical purpose. Shade, shelter, food, wood, windbreak, mulch accumulator, nitrogen fixer, ground cover - it all has to fit together like a layered cake or it doesn't work.
Cover the soil with ground covers
I've had my fair share of failures too. So many failures! They're my learning pegs though, and has made my life as a gardener all the more interesting for it. Failing made me pay attention to other elements more than just the usual suspects of climate, soil and moisture. Failing made me experiment with different types of plant combinations, and where to plant them outside the norms! Failing made me look at permaculture more seriously too, which had a lot of valuable information to contribute.
When all else fails, garden in pots
I still wouldn't consider myself a successful gardener, but I haven't given up and that's the main thing. I take sabbaticals, when my life gets too full of obligations elsewhere, and that's when it really tests my garden. How it survives and produces without me, is something I learn from too. See, I'm not sure we should become slaves to our gardens. It should be a relationship where the gardener and the garden have equal expression. To dominate completely, means you miss out on half the conversation and take on all the work.
I've probably missed the most obvious point about having a garden, and that's the beauty aspect. They awaken all your senses. But that's not why I build a garden - the best part of my temperament is expressed when I can pour myself into nature. It centers me. Something about the energy, the simplicity and the diversity all merging together, subdues me. That's what I love about having as many plants as I can. It's what inspired me to keep at propagation, even though I failed consistently for several years. I wanted more of this centered contentment, which wasn't fleeting like everything else.
New plants from old
Once I learned to propagate successfully, I haven't stopped! We all need a driving force in our lives, and I guess gardening is mine. I'll grab my secateurs and take some cuttings, or I'll pop some seeds in the ground and wait for the rain to arrive. It's the promise of something to come. Something to germinate. Something to surprise me later on.
So even though my life as a gardener hasn't been perfect, its still been very worthwhile. I look forward to the seasons, the shapes and the smells. I'll look at that bare patch of earth and imagine what I'll plant there. What's more, I hope all this activity and experimentation will lead to growing more food successfully. That is my ultimate goal.
Kent pumpkins on the brew
What is your present goal, or what would you like to do more of as a gardener?