I’ve never been a gardener. I’d never even really wanted to be a gardener. I wanted to be the kind of person who wanted to be a gardener. I didn’t know the difference between an annual and perennial (which I thought was peri-annual). I had no idea what a pistal, pith or pip was, unless we were talking about Gladys Knight’s backup singers. To say I was lacking basic knowledge is a gross understatement.
Now I’m faced with almost seven acres of property. Most of it is covered with vineyard, but more than two non-vineyard acres surround our lovely little farmhouse and are calling to be more than a gopher-and-mole nature preserve. I long to have interesting beds overflowing with vegetables and flowers with lovely paths winding among them.
I am determined to make this happen myself. I could write a check, but I want to get my hands into the dirt, watch something grow and serve it at our table. I’m fortunate to have friends and family who have contributed to my meager knowledge. I’ve actually planted and eaten our own artichokes, lettuces and various herbs. I’ve managed to destroy a beautiful rose, trying to move it to a new location, and have brought back to life roses that were left as an inheritance from the previous owner. With trial and error, reading, and a whole lot of digging, I feel like I’m halfway down the path to becoming a gardener.
What will get me all the way there? A gardening coach. It’s a term I came up with to describe someone who can help me develop a plan without stealing away my new-found joy of doing the work. Someone who can steer me away from plants that may be lovely but become invasive monsters. Who can show me what plants attract butterflies and bees and which plants draw pests away from your tender vegetables. Someone with a creative touch who can help me come up with a master plan to add beauty and productivity to all this space around us and turn this bookkeeper into a real, live gardener.