Gardens call to me.
I really wasn't born with a green thumb, but gardening is in my blood, traveling down from my maternal grandparents.
Gardens seem to call my name, the way the coffee pot sings out to me each morning. I stop and look at all sorts of gardens, dreaming of the day when a patch of earth would be my own – at least to steward for a time and grow things in.
But third-floor apartment living does something to one's stamina. After trudging up multiple flights of stairs with groceries each week, the desire to drag up pottery and bags of dirt was thwarted.
Enter my Mum.
The Beauty of Starting Something New
Mum bought a house earlier this year with a gorgeous garden plot in the right corner of the yard. It looked like it hadn't been used in a few years – it was desperate for fresh soil and there were rocks through and through– but it seemed to be eager to be of us, beckoning us to plant a vegetable garden in it.
My mom was just as enthusiastic as I and we became co-gardeners of this sweet spot of land. I took care of the heavy lifting, getting all the topsoil, figuring out if chicken or steer manure was better (still don't really know), pulling out as many rocks as I could and sending Mum about 57 texts asking what kind of plants she wanted and what kind of tools we needed.
Tomatoes, bell pepper (green and red), eggplant, pumpkins (two varieties), a jalapeno pepper, and lots of squash, both zucchini and crook neck were all planted, along with some favorite flowers: marigolds and zinnias. I'd bought some plants and others (like the pumpkin and crookneck squash) to plant from seed.
The seedlings all died or so I thought. It would be a waste to throw out the fresh soil, so after three weeks of patiently watering and waiting for the seeds to burst through the soil, I dumped the dirt onto second garden plot, the piece of land to the left of the raised garden bed.
One week later, plants were popping up everywhere. I guess the seeds were just late bloomers.
As the garden grew, I became more fixated on the beauty and details of each plant, the delicate blooms of the variety of plants pushing up towards the sun and expanding like crazy over the garden plot.
Somewhere in the middle of planting and organizing and obsessing like a mother hen over the plants, I thought I would start painting them. Taking photos is one thing. But painting involves a deeper level of observation, of detail, of love.
A New Series for a New Season
To paint something is to care deeply about the nuances and details of how it is created and the beauty it brings into world.
I didn't want to only paint the plants in full maturity, but capture the journey, moving from blossom to baby vegetable (or fruit) to mature crop, ready to pick and eat.
Colors change, leaves mature, shapes and produce develops right in front of our eyes with these gardens. In mere months the plants grow from new to producing. It's a miracle right in front of our eyes.
The garden grows faster than I can chronicle it. If you have your own sweet garden, I hope this inspires you to capture some of your beloved plants with paint and paper.
Or, please borrow the pictures of the garden my Mum and I are tending to create a garden of your own, right in your home.
I hope you love the new YT collection, "The Garden Series."