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!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010