This is the lesson I passed on to my daughter the other day, as I sat down in the conservatory to re-pot some seedlings. She knows that I am perfectly at peace with the soil and the plants, but this time I needed her to know first-hand what it was all about. So we sat down, spread some cardboard on the floor, got out the pots and seedlings, and got to the task at hand. I hesitate to call it work, because it is more therapeutic than anything else.
The afternoon turned into night and by the time we finished, we created two terrariums, planted 17 pots of butternut squash, and re-potted oregano and thyme. Needless to say, I was very satisfied with the results, jubilant at the fact that I am one step closer to my dream of a conservatory overrun with plants, and a home that thrives on natural and spiritual energy. In my mind I had grapes and roses crawling all over the place, but pumpkin and cucumber will do just as well! I have not given up on the roses yet, but maybe clematis will do better. In any case, it was a turning point for my daughter – after 21 years of growing up in a privileged environment where she watched the gardeners to about their work and enjoyed the results, she has finally put her hands in the dirt – and discovered the joy of digging and planting.
We went back to the nursery yesterday to get more pots and soil, and the rest of the day was spent planting and creating a wonderful indoor herb garden that we can be proud of. The beauty of this moment is not the gardening per se, but the fact that we have found yet another activity that we connect with and enjoy. We are passionate artists in our own right, so we seek each others opinion for colours, depth, perspective, and overall evaluation – she for her art and me for photography. The unique thing about this is that I am a painter as well, and artistry carries over very well through the lens of a camera, regardless of whether it is a Canon or an iPhone. This dichotomy of kindred spirits has a certain depth between us that makes our relationship very strong.
Much as I enjoy gardening along as a form of meditation and prayer, for my daughter this is a form of therapy to usher in calmness and mindfulness. It was as if she was connecting to the earth and plants for the first time, realising that each living item with a root has a soul, agonising over the idea that some of these transplants may not survive the shock. But that is a valuable lesson in life to take away from seedlings, something that no classroom can ever teach.
As we look around our accomplishments from yesterday (43 pots of butternut squash, five pots of chives, a large container of paprika seedlings, and what we now call the pizza pot because it contains basil, oregano and thyme), we were perfectly at peace. Is there any better way to usher in spring into the home?