Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Know What?

Thanks so much, everyone, for your support. It really means a lot!
I'm sorry if I upset anyone! I didn't mean to make anyone sad.

That article simply made a light bulb go off in my brain - I don't fit.

It's just that I realized, while I was reading, that I will never fit in with the majority of gardeners. I'm not even really sure how to express what I mean. Middle-class gardeners, maybe? Those with any disposable income? People who can afford to blow a few pennies here and there on the plants they really want? I've always known it, I just never wanted to accept it. Maybe it was just easier to pretend I was like most gardeners, and that my opinion counted for something.

And it made me very angry to think that Robin was coming across that people like me just aren't good enough. That I was somehow a complete failure as a gardener if I even dared to entertain the thought of using something as tacky as a Walmart tom cage. That I dared to even think of myself as anything better than dirt when it came to plant placement, paths or pretty garden design. And if I left a weed to see its glory - oh, boy! - I was useless.
And, for a little while, I believed it. Why bother with a blog if I have absolutely nothing to contribute and that is the type of thing people want - pretty gardens?

On the majority of blogs that I read, people are posting about all their newest acquisitions from the local nursery, online shops, seed catalogs, garden books, etc. (is it wrong that I get all excited for you guys?) and I can't even afford to walk in the doors of the places most of you guys shop at.

That article made me face those facts head-on. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be the norm.
Really, since I'm not even in their target demographic, I didn't even have a right to be angry about one word she wrote. I can't afford her book - I can't even afford to have an opinion.

And no, I'm not feeling sorry for myself or trying to put anyone on a guilt trip, it's just the way things are. Just the facts, Ma'am!

I've always been a fighter and never really let things get to me, but that article seemed to have enough power to, for a time, crush my spirit. If someone talked down to my kids in that manner, I would have kicked their ass, but here I was, believing every word that I was a crap gardener. I couldn't even justify refuting anything she said because I believed it was all true.

Honestly, what do I even have to offer to the gardening world? I will never have the newest, coolest, gotta-have thing. Ever. I will never have a 'socially acceptable' garden. Ever. I will never grow a 'pretty' vegetable garden. Ever. Food will never be grown for anything other than for being food. Ever.
Plants will always be propped up with sticks picked off the ground, recycled rebar and yarn. My paths will always be constructed from field picked stone and loads of free crushed red shale from a relative. My mulch will always consist of chipped wood (gasp!) leftovers from the town or utility companies. My plants will always come from trades, passalongs or clearance sales.

And you know what?
You guys made me see - I'm OK with that!

Growing things brings me joy. Eating preserved vegetables all winter that came from my summer garden makes me happy. Watching my kids learn to be more self sufficient and how to grow and care for plants that will sustain them, even in the worst of times in their lives, sustains me. Teaching them how to share what you have, or have learned, with those that need it makes me feel fabulous.

The only thing that matters, pretty or not, is that I'm growing things. Lots of things.
That I'm teaching my kids, friends and neighbors to be good stewards of the earth and how to make do with what you have - no matter how ugly it may be. That I have enough vegetables to share with those that don't have enough is important to me.

Whether I'm in the majority gardening group or not makes no difference, because every single day I sow a seed or pull a weed, I'm making a difference - Pretty gardens be damned! Rock on ugly gardens!

Words may have power, but gardening, and blog friends, have much, much more. And I have way too much to share to keep my mouth, and keyboard silent.

Besides, I'm scared of Colleen, Gina and crew coming over here and kicking my ass! ;)

Happy (ugly) Growing!



Anonymous said...

Well said, you certainly fit in as far as I'm concerned, and you're as entitled to have an opinion as anybody.
You probably have far more to contribute about gardening than she ever will.
I wondered yesterday, when I was on the plot, what she has to say about a garden dress code as there I was looking like a tramp!
People like you and me are real gardeners who actually get our hands dirty digging in the dirt, and most importantly of all we enjoy every minute of it.
Forget the word ugly as in our case it simply does not apply!
Happy gardening! Flighty xx

witchymee said...

Well if you don't fit in then either do I. Most of the stuff in our garden is recycled, a lot from the curb. Some of my plants are from where someone tossed them out. We get plants from freecycle. (I also give starts of plants on freecycle)
We try to reuse anything we can to save money and to save the landfills.
I learned years ago not to care what others think of me, just to do what was right for me. Keep the chin up and keep on blogging.

Elephant's Eye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Groble said...

our hosta came from mama and papa host which we brought with us from Chicago, which came from mam and papa hosta which came from the mother-in-law. most of our garden was begged, bartered, or split.

Deborah said...

I have the type of garden that the TV designers would just love to rip out and redesign to give me more "curb appeal". I'm not the least bit self-conscious about that. I garden to please myself, as we all should. I've grown gardens when I had plenty of money, and I've grown gardens when I barely had two pennies to rub together. It's all about the pleasure of coaxing living things out of the ground.

The pride of my garden is a brick path that we made ourselves from 100% free bricks. We begged them from construction sites. Any (wealthy) idiot can plunk down a load of cash to a land designer, but it's much more fun to be creative about it.

Don't stop blogging.

Kimberly said...

Tina, I fear I missed out on the original posts, but am so sorry to hear that you were obviously hurt and considered leaving the blogging world. This is sad. I can only hope the words you heard were not intentional. Regardless, you must do what makes you and your family happy, especially as it's not hurting anyone. I personally think I have a very lovely garden, and most of my plants are found in the garbage, given as gifts, or found on the clearance rack. In fact, I know the lady at Lowes by name...the one that marks down the prices on the clearance rack every weekend. I'm not too proud to admit these things...in fact I blog about them...wonderful finds and saves are a pot of gold in my mind! Regarding a garden being "ugly", I really don't think that's possible. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My style may not be yours, and vice versa, but that's what makes the world go 'round. If we were all clones, it would be very boring!! Rock on with your "ugly" garden, girl! :) Hugs - Kimberly

Rhonda said...

I am SO glad you decided to keep on keeping on here! I think you might be surprised to find how many of us are more like you than those prim-proper high-horse neatniks! Gardening should be FUN, who cares what it looks like if what you do looks good to you then that is all that matters! I have my own ugly garden in my front yard and although it doesn't look like any other front yard on my lower middle class block I don't care... I grow food and herbs and really enjoy being out there so that is all that matters to me. I was so happy to find your blog and to see that you are still writing! Thank you!