Gardener Stories: Louise Bailey


Goodness, it’s mid-April and the weather suddenly went from flip-flops and tank-tops to furry boots and sweaters! Once upon a time, things like this kept me from even trying to garden; however, since I’ve been in the Build It Up! gardening program, my confidence to garden through all types of weather and conditions has increased significantly. Once upon a time I could literally kill plastic plants, but not anymore! Last year I grew my first ever lush year-round garden, and whilst I did experience a few frustrating moments, overall (primarily the ‘bean bugs’, and that moment I learned the hard-way what a Saddleback Caterpillar is, oh and when the birds feasted on my newly planted seeds, but this year I’m more the wiser on all three) , it was one of the biggest and best accomplishments of my life. The first of my accomplishments, who are now teenagers and one grown adult, volunteered along the way, so it feels like a ‘Two for One’ moment. Not only are we eating healthier homegrown food, but our children are learning self-sufficiency.

I emphasize that our children “volunteered”, because I grew up on a 10 acre farm and “had” to do garden work that never seemed like fun. You’d think that I would have learned the many ways of gardening to sort one myself as an adult, but I didn’t, because as a kid I daydreamed about fun stuff while doing the garden chores. I actually approached my first garden effort last year with a lot of fear, worrying about how grueling and hard it was going to be, but by golly, I wanted to join the gardening movement, because the one good memory I did have of gardening was the results. Homegrown food just tastes tons better. What a big surprise to learn that it’s not that hard after all! It’s a process, and if you go into it with realistic expectations and dedication, then “ta-da!”, you’ll feel like an excited little kid going to the amusement park for the first time. It’s a fun ride, albeit a bit bumpy at times, but what a feeling when you roll on in to harvest time. Once you reap the harvest, you’ll be running back to stand in line for that ride again.

I now love gardening. I understand some years may not be as awesome as other years, pending crazy weather patterns, but so be it. I have this feeling of contentment from just knowing I’m trying.

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