Gus was just a few weeks old when we went into the backyard and he saw our garden for the first time. It was June 2010, the sun was shining and it was a completely new world for a baby. I put Gus in his bouncy seat while I gathered flowers, herbs, and vegetables. I showed Gus different plants and let him smell and touch them while repeating the plant’s name with the hope that someday he might embrace the plant world.
The garden is a place where our family spends time planting, nurturing, watering, harvesting, and relaxing. Gardening teaches us about life cycles and the wonder of planting a tiny seed and watching it grow into something colorful to put in a vase, make a healing remedy, or for use as an ingredient in a homemade meal.
My love affair with plants began when I was a young girl growing up in Maryland. Every summer, my father and I would plant flowers, tomatoes and peppers. My mother would take me to the library where I checked out gardening and plant related books. I would go for walks in the pastures and woods behind my house and gather plants to bring home and identify. I spent much of my free time exploring the natural world around me.
Some of my earliest garden memories began when visiting my grandparents in their row house in Baltimore City. With just a tiny backyard, my grandfather managed to grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans and beautiful roses. My grandmother used to make the most incredible tomato ketchup relish from the fresh tomatoes they grew. She and my grandfather would spend all day in the kitchen bottling up the ketchup, which became a stable condiment in our house for decades.
As Gus calmly sat in his bouncy seat in the shade, I thought about how much fun it would be to teach him about gardening and nature. I look forward to sharing our family’s love of the plant world and the outdoors. We have already nicknamed him, “the wild man.”