So. I had this burning desire to grow plants, when I arrived home in my late thirties. But how to cram all the knowledge needed. I was in a hurry, still young and cutting edge! I wanted to know every thing, there and then, instantly.
The first and most valuable giver of knowledge was Mum. In the general field of being a gardener she helped me the most. One of the most valuable lessons she taught me was patience. That plants have their own rhythm and pace. They will grow or not at their own volition.
Don’t be hasty.
Practice philosophical calm.
I remember one of the first herbs I grew was tansy, one of those plants you can almost see growing, it seemed to leap into length.
It ran out of water. It died. I despaired.
‘It’ll be fine just needs a good watering’ she said.
‘Frankly mother have you lost your mind, look it is dead as a dodo.’ Is what I thought!!
However I was a polite child:)
Of course she was right. Water = plant raising weary head, then straightening its shoulders and then wonders of wonders standing tall again.
‘Ah look, this plant is definitely dead, no leaves, no nothing.’
‘No. it might not be. Put it somewhere safe, water it occasionally and wait.’ ‘How long?’
‘As long as it takes. One, two three years.’
And, so many times, the plant is shooting again after what seems like a break of forever.
Don’t rush, don’t panic, relax.
She held my metaphorical hand all through those first months as I struggled to conquer another world. Mum was a basic straight forward gardener, she didn’t know how to build propagators, or have expertise in cacti.
Books, books, books.
My answer to everything.
Books filled in those gaps.
I built the propagators and experimented with all the different forms of propagation, guided by the printed word. I planted my exotics, my unusual my downright silly – with a book in one hand. Or with a magazine getting creased and crumpled. The world of gardening magazines was full of useful advice and special offers. Special offers were good, I wasn’t earning huge sums.
I watched the gardening programmes on TV and then the more exciting make over gardening programmes. Making notes, drawing pictures, taking heed. All I was learning was gardening, there being little time for other pursuits for a while.
Of course I was led down side path, tempted into trying something else, sustainability. Mum was keen, I was keen and so we went off to a local group to learn more together. That is another story really.
With Mum by my side, with her years of experience and with books, magazines and TV shows I was up to speed on more than the basics very soon. There is of course always room for more knowledge, always more to learn. But I had gained confidence in this new world. Now with knowledge in brain I needed to create my own experience. Gardening had arrived well and truly into my life.