I'm no green thumb and I used to pride myself on enjoying the beauty of flowers without getting messy in the mud. My mom started me off by making sure I had seasonal flower pots outside the front door when I moved into my home. She would "freshen" up the pot plants in front of my house each fall, until one fall when she was on vacation and I realized there would be no pretty blooms unless I actually got muddy and planted some myself.
Putting together potted plants was actually enjoyable! So much, in fact, that during a back yard renovation two years ago, my husband had a little vegetable garden built for me. He then said I could do whatever I want with it, which was overwhelming since my gardening to that point consisted of keeping my two African Violets alive by changing the water every time the house was cleaned. No plant food, no nothing, just changing water kept them flowering and perfect. An entire vegetable patch; well, that is another story. Originally, I was not too happy with the location, right up front and on the side of the garden. I envisioned them in a more remote part of the back yard…but as usual, my husband was right…he usually is when it comes to spatial issues!
Fortunately I had some experts with whom to consult: my mom who took me to Lowe's to buy my first vegetables for the garden; our gardening friend and neighbor aficionado, George gave us our first set of tomato plants and we were off to a good start. And to keep with a “pretty” garden aesthetic, another neighbor Cindy came over with some books and she inspired me to embrace the concept of a well-groomed garden. Our handyman, assisted by my son Rohan, helped prep the garden and dig trenches. We planted anything that sounded like we might use it: squash, zucchini, eggplants, jalapenos, chili peppers, banana peppers, green peppers, and butter lettuce. When my mom and I purchased the first set of plants, they were tiny plants and unassuming, it was hard to imagine they would actually render anything worthwhile. But then a week or two or three later, wow...it was a full-fledged vegetable garden!
We had so many vegetables that I shared with friends and neighbors, we had too much for the four of us to consume but it was thrilling to go out each day and see what was growing. The unanticipated bonus was having the kids involved with picking vegetables and taking care of the garden. Rohan is concerned about making sure that we do not use pesticides in the garden. He enjoys observing the bugs and he is constantly commenting on how good the bugs are for the garden. He also loves to use gardening shears to cut dead plants. Asha (my daughter) loves running after the butterflies. She looks for bugs and asks her brother to identify them. She also enjoys the flowers just like I do...It's so much fun to enjoy the outdoors in a completely different way. It’s family bonding in a way that is difficult to express and entirely unexpected. Try it, you may be like me and just surprise yourself!