For about 10 years I’ve pined for a garden. It isn’t that I love the outdoors or that I have a remarkable ability to grow things. I don’t. I honestly do not grow things well. I kill plants, I kill them dead. Still, I’m drawn to the idea of gardening…emphasis on the word “idea.”

It might be because it was around 10 years ago that I watched the most recent version of The Secret Garden with my daughter, who was around 4 at the time. Shortly thereafter I read the book to her. Every night before bed we’d cuddle up and I’d read. The long and luscious descriptions offered in the book ignited something in me and it’s been smoldering ever since.

I’ve tried to grow tomatoes. One year I had a plant which survived my brown thumb in fact and we had about three fresh tomatoes before it finally gave up the ghost. It was a small triumph but a triumph nonetheless.

When the winter begins to break every year I plan my garden. I look around my yard and picture it as growing and lovely, fecund…ready for harvest and fully in bloom. I measure the area, I price the plants, I figure out when it should start, where it will grow over time, I can see it all in my head. The planning is easy, you see. I idea of planting and nurturing is easy. The practice is not so easy.

The excuses I use from year to year about why I don’t follow through on the garden vary, but not by much. I cite finances and time, energy, life situation, possible house moves, children’s ages but for the most part I don’t follow through, I think, because I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to put all this effort and energy into building something that looks to be vastly satisfying and soul soothing only to find that I didn’t really have what it takes to make it all work out. I want a harvest, baby, I want a freakin bountiful harvest and if it doesn’t come to pass I’m not sure what I’ll make of that.

What’s worse is that I want the harvest now. I don’t want to wait. I want my garden to look like my friend Sarah’s garden looks already. I can do all the prep work in my head and get everything ready but frankly, I want it all now. Every time I buy a store bought tomato I pine a little more for the garden I don’t have. Every step into garden center greets me with “if only I had all the money in the world, I’d pay someone to make this happen for me.”

I’m pretty sure I’d be an awesome billionare…I’d eat well with my personal chef on board, workout everyday when my personal trainer comes to call, stroll through the garden that my personal groundsmen put into motion every spring. People say that I wouldn’t be satisfied or that there’d be something missing in this but I still pretty much think they’re wrong.

Then again…since it’s unlikely I’l get to test out their theory anytime soon I suppose it doesn’t do any good to even go down that path, even for a little while.

And so…I just keep reading and studying and planning and hoping. The desire to plant and grow things won’t go away, the appreciation for those who do it and do it well won’t fade although, if I’m not careful it might become poisoned and grow in to envy. The best I can do is keep on keepin on and plant a little at a time. This year I have a small container garden on my backporch…and although it does seem to be thriving in fits and starts already I can see it’s not enough. I want more and I do want it all now. I’m not sure in the long run I can expect that will change either.


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