Garden Epiphanies: Work Happens Here


When I tell people I’m trying to become a gardener, I hope they imagine the kinds of scenes I follow on Instagram. Bright nasturstiums spilling over new cedar boxes, beautifully trellised beans, fat red tomatoes.

What’s really happening, especially since we don’t have a garden shed or greenhouse, is that there is %$#! everywhere. Hose snaked across the grass, half-finished bags of soil and vermiculite now getting a little waterlogged, split cherry tomatoes on the ground, stacks of pots multiplying and teetering.

When my kids were little and it seemed like all I did was sweep the floor, I put a reminder on my bulletin board: See my world and messy house through eyes of love. I wanted to remember that messiness was a sign of life, a sign that people were eating, drinking, sleeping, creating, snuggling, living, working.

The trend in my cooking magazines and social media feeds is to organize the crap out of everything—have deep drawers that hold every implement, have matching and labeled canisters, and definitely do not leave the juicer sitting out on the counter. I suppose my garden is going the way of my kitchen, and they both shout, “Work happens here!”

And all those years sweeping cheerios off the floor taught me to love it.