Life is a Garden
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” -Audrey Hephurn
Growing up my mom always had a vegetable garden. She was always experimenting with little vegetable seeds on our window sills. This had a profound effect on me as I now delight in my own experiments growing this and that on my window sills. You really don’t have to be a master gardener to start growing or go to school for botany. All you need is some seeds, recycled plastic fruit containers, soil and sunlight.
When I first decided to place the ad for myself in our local newspaper, I didn’t realize what I was getting into. The only real background I had in gardening were those little experiments and my two years part-time working in a green house. All I knew was that I loved everything about plants. The smell, watching them grow over time, the way they purify our air, the symbol of life and connectivity. So this spring, when I wasn’t able to work in the green house, leaving my higher paying job and having extra time on my hands, I needed something to fill the voids.
So I started a garden business.
I became so busy these past two months with clients that I can’t believe it’s almost August. My summer was not wasted because I learned more than I ever thought possible and connected with some incredible people.
A thousand thoughts go through my head as I walk up to each different client’s front door for the first time. I question myself and the situations I put myself into. Small talk and then a tour. An outline of the jobs to be done, why they need to be done and why they hired me to do them.
I start to work. The smell of dirt fills my nose and sparks memories of my childhood, of my Mom’s garden and my Nana’s flower beds. Push. Pull. Rip. Cut. Stack. Fill. Dump. Repeat. Sounds aggressive right? Gardening is not for the faint heart, it’s hard work. But It’s good fulfilling hard work.
A story or two to get to know each other. Break for a beverage or an orange. Then back at it. Push. Pull. Stack. Fill. The roots break and the feeling of release follows. Over and over a mindless task, weeding, yet it’s not mindless. My mind wanders to possibilities, dreams, goals. And then before I know it the bed is cleared and only the desired plants remain. They breathe a sigh of relief, for I have eliminated their competition. The weeds that are out to steal their space, their water, their nutrients. Gone to dry up in the summer sun.
On to the next job, and the next. Progress is starting to become visible but it’s time to leave. We are both tired from the hours toiling under the sun. More chatting about life, things in common, our past. They give me something for my service and we schedule another day. I leave feeling like I have accomplished something. I leave a little piece of myself in these gardens. I’m proud as if they were my own.
It starts with the introduction and ends in this remarkable connection of a shared interest and love for nature. I do this and that little odd jobs for people learning as I go. If I don’t know how to do what they want then I do some quick research or watch a video then try it out myself. This job has kept me in shape, got me outside and has allowed me to network with a ton of different people. Not only that but to be able to speak to starting your own business and gaining the references along the way is truly invaluable.
I’m not sure what’s in store for me this next year. I’ll be going back to school full-time, working at the newspaper part-time, and bar-tending on the weekends. I’m a web design/marketing student who will be graduating in the spring. The future is unknown, the destination far out of sight. I know one thing is for sure. I’ll always have my little gardens and I’ll always help out a fellow gardener in need. When I left my full-time job this past spring, I thought my summer would be filled with kayaking, hiking and days on the lake. Instead my summer was filled with shoveling, sweating and working in the dirt but I wouldn’t trade a thing about it. With the planting season coming to an end soon, I really do feel so very grateful for the opportunity to have been able to be apart of something bigger than myself.