Gardening, like any creative endeavor, is as much about dreaming and imagining as it is about plotting, planting, and trimming. I’m a gardening enthusiast, an advocate for digging, clipping, and potting. But, most of all, I just enjoy being in my garden.
Vita Sackville-West formulated several principles of gardening that would serve the novice well. First: have a plan. (This applies to most things in life.) There’s the architecture of the garden, the seasonal ebb and flow, a color scheme. . . . Second: be ruthless. If it doesn’t work, if it isn’t beautiful, if it doesn’t please you, then OUT. Cut your losses and move on. Third: perfection isn’t a goal. A little unruliness, the occasional random self-seeding, is OK.
Also, there’s no such thing as a green thumb. Gardening is a skill acquired with patience, a stiff back, and, all too often, an exhausted wallet. Mix all of this with some good soil and a little compost, and one day you, too, might acquire one of those totally enviable (and nonexistent) green thumbs.
Actually, I think I came by gardening naturally. The visuals of my grandmother’s house are still so clear: flowers and plants in the house, and a sunporch full of plants, many of them grown from cuttings. This is what surrounded me and sparked my curiosity as a child. The garden has a way of bringing people together, fostering the Southern hospitality I grew up with.