Love a girl who gardens and you will never go hungry.
When she whispers “Taste this,” close your eyes, lean in and open your mouth.
Be patient if she is occasionally late, for a girl who gardens tells time by the morning glories, four ‘o’ clocks and night blooming jasmine.
She’s not interested in watches because hers is an earthier clock.
Instead of jewellery, get her wicker baskets and tall rubber rain boots (she’ll love hot pink, shiny ones with polka dots). Place a new sunhat, wide-brimmed and straw, on her warm head. Toss her old one when she isn’t looking and distract her with a tray of seedlings you started just for her. Watch her eyes shine.
Let her wrap her dusty arms around you tightly in gratitude.
A girl who gardens forgets her shoes and splashes in puddles. She looks forward to rainy days and sunny days and windy days because she understands the rhythms of weather and the balance of life; that we need variety to thrive and that too much sun leads to drought. She’ll explain that we aren’t so different from plants, since the sun is our energy and the rain sustains us while the wind is the breath that shakes us loose.
Save your egg cartons for her seeds. Help her find antique pots at thrift stores and then fill them with annuals.
Each night, rub her hands with thick balms made of beeswax and lavender. Embrace the shadow of dirt at the edges of her short nails because a girl who gardens wastes manicures in minutes. Breathe in her perfume of herbs and revel in the way she smells of rosemary.
She’ll think you silly if you chase her with worms. She’s happy to see them wriggling and munching their way through the rich chocolate cake of her soil that together they’ve tended and this isn’t a girl who’s frightened of bugs. She welcomes the honeybees with a sunflower smile, while with bare hands she pinches the beetles from her sweet potatoes. The snails may annoy her, but politely she’ll ask them to leave.
A girl who gardens knows tomatoes. She has no patience for tasteless, pale produce under fluorescent lights and she rages about GMOs. Listen to her lectures and agree that no one needs watermelon in January. Because they don’t, and while winter storms howl outside, let her spoon you dishes of jewel-like preserves from fat Mason jars. She canned them herself last summer.
Count the days with her until the vernal equinox and keep an eye out for returning robins who will herald the first open crocus. Celebrate the brave snow drops that stretch up through the frozen ground. Like the cold-loving bulbs, she too is the first to bloom in the melting ice, because a girl who gardens is tough and resilient and courageous.
Talk dirty to a girl who gardens: compost, manure tea, top soil, organic fertilizer, wet, peaty mulch, mud, clay and bone meal.
When summer comes, play in the sprinkler on hot afternoons. Make sun tea, sip it on the back porch until the fireflies light up her hollyhocks. Take her by the hand and dance with her in the wet grass. Kiss your gardening girl beneath a sky aflicker with heat lightning. Laugh and shoo the deer from her kale, then run your fingers through the vine-like tendrils of her hair.
When you find a girl who gardens, give her room to grow. Understand that she may be a transplant, but her roots run deep. She is grounded and real in her connection to life-bearing energies.
If you love a girl who gardens, you are lucky, for she will cultivate and nourish your relationship the way she tends her plants. She knows that to grow we must be fed, that patience and dedication lead to bountiful harvests and that we are all part of a glorious cycle of germination, blossoming, fruiting, decomposition and rebirth. Love a girl who gardens and she will show you the beauty of both the flowers and the dirt and the miracle that is this life.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: partofasystem at Flickr