Many years ago, I was a Florida transplant and I met Terri Pinder, who effortlessly turned me on to gardening. She said one sentence that I have repeated so many times, as though my own thought: gardening is the most equitable thing one can do. It stuck in my head and cajoled me to try to prove it. A couple weeks later, I purchased a beautiful piece of Champa pottery in a sort of teal shade (I still have it) and with her guidance, shopped around for some plants that would work well together. It’s been ten loaded years and I have planted so much since, yet I still remember what plants I chose the first time I filled it: Lantana ‘Anne Marie’; a few pink and coral ivy geraniums; some vinca vine; and a yellow snapdragon. It was late November and with an Eastern exposure, some deadheading, watering every few days, and much admiration, that first garden was so rewarding! I gave to it and I took from it; true equity. Terri was right. That first container garden inspired me to plant many, to turn the entire front yard of the rental I was in at the time into a cottage-style garden, with everything in pots, as I was in sugar-sandy Jensen Beach. It was glorious! As my life has changed and become busier, I give less in the garden, and receive less, but it’s all good. When times are less hectic, I dig right back into the dirt, and the blooms are showier and the garden more expansive once again. Equitable. Kind. Lovely.
Years after Terri compelled me to have my first independent gardening experience, I met a Florida transplant who was quite sad in her life. She had lost her mother before her move and was looking for a soul mate. I planted for her a beautiful terrarium garden that I called her Love Garden. I chose plants I felt symbolized one’s heart’s desire- little beauties with heart-shaped leaves, delicate reaching greens, and a dark-leafed begonia with a fleeting deep pink bloom. I didn’t want to promise anything though I had put plenty of intention into it, but I hoped it would enchant her life and bring her love. At the very least, it would bring her a great supply of Equity. She was touched and fell hard for it. She misted it, and trimmed the plants when they grew too close to the glass, just as I suggested, and she spent plenty of time with it. It thrived more than any other terrarium I had ever made or bought!
The reason I share this story here is to express gratitude for my exposure to gardening, for it has become one of the greatest loves of my life. Also I wanted to share a very sweet and meaningful gift idea, that is a Love Garden for a friend who could use one, or who could use the simple gift of gardening. There may be someone in your life who you expect would make an incredible gardener, who shares your understanding of equity or who you want to see get what they’re really great at giving.