By Jill Henderson - Show Me Oz -
Almost a year ago now, my husband and I settled down into our latest ‘new place’. We’ve lived quite the nomadic lifestyle over the last 20 years, moving to another house, state, or even country every few years. In every case where it was physically possible, the first thing we did after unpacking our bags was to dig a garden. We have hand dug and landscaped more acres of land than my back will allow me to remember, but each and every one of those gardens were lovingly created, tended and enjoyed by us for as long as we had to enjoy them. And while it was always difficult to say goodbye, we never regretted a single one of them.
Those who don’t have gardening in their blood might be tempted to think that we would eventually get smart and stop doing all that work for just a few ears of corn or a melon here and there. Some people even told us we should just buy our lettuce and tomatoes at the grocery store like everyone else. But, that’s not who we are. Because, as passionate as we were about travelling around the world and exploring new places, we have always been gardeners at heart. Digging the earth and sowing the seed was never a question or a conundrum or even a discussion in our family. Gardening was like breathing – something we could not stop ourselves from doing even if we wanted to.
After 20 years of gardening and travelling around the world, I have met and known thousands and thousands of gardeners, all of whom share a passion that drives people like us to the edge of distraction and makes us do crazy things, like digging a brand new garden for someone else every two years or so. Every single gardener I have ever known pours their heart into each inch of cultivated earth and every single seed sown or plant planted. And like me, many of them take that passion beyond the cultivated bits into the wilder areas of the places they call home.
Of our many gardens, some were more special than others. Whether it was the place itself, the plants that grew there, or the memories that seeped into the soil with our sweat, I do not know. But I do know that in each case, the work felt just as hard and the reward just as great. I didn’t do all that work for some glorified ideal, I did it for food and beauty and for my soul. And while we definitely didn’t dig all those gardens just so that someone else could enjoy the fruits of our labor, I always felt good about leaving something so valuable and beautiful behind as I passed through.... Read the entire article at Show Me Oz.
Jill Henderson is an artist, author and naturalist with a passion for wild edible and medicinal plants, organic gardening, seed saving and sustainable agriculture. She has written three books: The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons.