Every day is Earth Day when you are tending a garden. Every day becomes a celebration when those tiny dry seeds start showing their little green heads above the soil. You watch the weather like it’s your new favorite show, and you anticipate the harvest like Christmas day.
Now, I would love for you to believe that our community gatherings are a Pinterest board of delight and whimsy. There isn’t a single weed in our garden and all our plants are in their prime. Pests wouldn’t DARE to tread upon our precious little haven of growth and happiness! They must know that everything is sacred within the borders we have built. If only this were true. I wish I could spray a delicate perfume of “go away and let my plants grow” and “thrive and give me the biggest vegetables ever”. I imagine it would smell like wisteria and evoke feelings of serenity. The truth is, more than half of our beans didn’t sprout due to a misunderstanding on my part. And because the weather decided not to listen to this year’s predictions, we ended up with 8 weeks of unseasonably low temperatures which prevented our melons and cucumbers from germinating. Gophers are still parading around like they own the place, and we are still working out the kinks in our irrigation. But then one morning we’ll discover the artichokes have started sprouting and the asparagus has produced enough spears for our evening meal. Triumph. Gardening is not a glamorous job by any means. It’s dirty. It’s frustrating. It’s incredibly invigorating and fulfilling, and I love every square inch of it. We are forever students of our labor, and if we didn’t have the struggle, we would never know the victory.
Our friends who joined us got to experience the ups and downs of irrigation. Here in Northern California, water is a big ordeal. Once our summers hit, we generally do not get a drop of water for months! Our temperatures often rise well above 100 degrees, and if our irrigation breaks down, we can lose plants within a few hours. We spent the entire two hours–if you can believe it–fixing, replacing, and setting all of our water lines. Everyone was wet and dirty by the time we were done, but no one seemed to mind. At the end, one of our new friends turned to me and said, “This is so therapeutic.” Who would have thought irrigation could be therapeutic?
Inviting people into our garden has felt like inviting someone into our home. Will they like the throw pillows and the decor? Will they feel comfortable, or will they be counting down the minutes until they can leave? As I looked around, I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt cozy in our place. It was beautiful to see the wonder and love for our little patch of “home”. This garden has become a sanctuary for me, and I could see that same delight on several faces. There’s nothing quite like coming together and getting your hands dirty with someone–it melts away all the barriers and connects us in a way that words can not.