When I was wandering around the world I had a thought too what I was going to do with the rest of my working life - I was returning home to help look after ageing parents, so either part time work on self employment seemed the answer. I thought I would like to do something crafty - which crafts was unclear but I had had one or two thoughts. Herbs played a part in these plans, the fact that I would have the run of a large garden when I returned helped formulate plans.
Of course the small matter of never having done any gardening, as such, before never crossed my mind as a problem! I had pulled weeds and picked tons of soft fruit as a child for extra pocket money, I had even been know to slather myself with cooking oil and lie on the lawn sunbathing (back when I was young and poor ‘Health and Safety’ and ‘skin cancer’ had yet to raise their officious heads - Yes I did say cooking oil:(
Gardening experience/knowledge= zero.
But the whole idea of these tiny flowers and textured leaves having such healing qualities and delicious (for the most part) fragrance delighted. I knew a lot about herbs already from cooking skills gleaned earlier in life but growing them - nah!
My parents, especially my mother, were keen gardeners, soft fruit, stone fruit, vegetables and roses. Herbaceous borders, shrubbery's and trees all were grist to their green fingered skin. Apart for mint (essential if you like potatoes of course) they didn’t grow herbs.
It was herbs I wished to grow, from seed, not brought in plants. So I turned as always to books to learn. In libraries, book clubs and book shops everywhere garden books abounded. We had some at home of course but I reckoned, in my ‘cutting edge change of career path energy’ they would be out of date. They were, from point of view of illustrations but were surprisingly knowledgeable, why wouldn’t they be? people have been growing plants for thousands of years.
It seemed my ancestors bought their colourful flowers from black and white pictures!
In theory I only needed one good book to learn how to sow/grow/propagate herbs but what is the fun in one book? I’m an addict I keep telling the world so - there are soooo many delicious books out there showing/enticing/tempting one to grow - well everything really. Why stop at herbs, why not learn how to grow vegetables, alpines, fruit, orchids, bulbs, shrubs, trees and/or. . . Why not learn how to create themed gardens, rock gardens, alpine meadows, Mediterranean, bible gardens and /or. . . Why not learn how to build propagating boxes, benches, greenhouses, ornaments, walls why not. . . Well you get the point.’Tis a slippery slope buying one book:)
In the end I didn’t even go the herbal path for a career move I created hand embroidered silk clothes instead - that’s life!
However I had a wonderful library of gardening books and such fun over the years playing in the garden. I learnt how to propagate, to nourish, I learnt the difference in soils, light and warmth. The intricacies of micro climates and compost heaps. Pest and disease, gardener’s friends and enemies. Had a problem/thought/yearning and there was a book to help me along. The garden has been my delight and bane ever since.That was six gardens or so ago and those books came with me every time I moved and created another space to relax in.Melding in very soon with my concerns about the planet, they became increasingly about ‘wild’, about ‘natural’. I gave many away to the library, those whose message was strict uniformity, stricter controls, they were replaced with those which loved lushness and an open door policy to all creatures, as well as myself.
I do still grow herbs, also the vegetables and fruit but no orchids, no themed spaces, the garden is there to draw in the humming/flying/chewing/singing inhabitants of this land and to allow me to sip my coffee in peace and fragrance