Wednesday, November 21, 2012

this is

a place to wander, 

                        to dream,

                            to  grow

                                   Since I began gardening in the fall of 2011, I have come to find that the gardens, places and people which I have encountered have taught me more than I ever thought I would, or could learn. My gardening quest began as a quest for truth and self-reliance. Where does our food come from? How does a carrot grow? What is the source? What is a GMO? What does organic really mean? Can we really trust food labels? Puzzled by an abyss of unrelenting questions I would dare not dive into, I decided it was time to do it myself. Why worry about a genetically modified carrot, when I can grow it myself? These endless questions, coupled with my love for food, dirt, and sheer stubbornness, made gardening seem just the thing. 
                                    And it became the thing I could not stop thinking about. It was as if a seed suddenly planted itself in my heart and would not stop growing...I couldn't control it..the urge to grow something, everything! I soon found myself in a frenzy. A recent college graduate with no money and student loans, now was not the time to invest in a project I knew nothing about, but I couldn't help it. So I found ways. I saved empty Tazo tea canisters as herb pots in lieu of those chic ones I saw at garden centers. I dug up uncultivated dirt from the ground outside my house. I broke off rosemary twigs from my Aunt Lani's front yard while visiting her in Huntington Beach, CA during my usual weekend surf adventures. 
Photo by: Tiffanie Ma
                           That was only the beginning. I found myself hoarding stacks of gardening books at the Arcadia Library. I spent hours, tip-toeing my way to grabbing as many books on vegetable gardening, herb gardening, urban gardening, garden design, organic gardening, seed saving, composting, and the list goes on. I applied for a job teaching after school gardening in Culver City of Los Angeles. The organization was looking for an elementary after school teacher, and during the interview I was asked what fresh programs I could contribute. Without even thinking, I blurted out, "what about an Urban Gardening course?" Before I knew it, I had signed myself up for something I was obsessed with and had absolutely no idea of how to start teaching what I had little, if any, knowledge of. Great.
                         After shaking hands with the coordinator and leaving the room, I drove the long L.A. horror-of-a-commute home freaking out. But then, I came to my senses, and thought to myself, this is perfect. I have experience teaching, I am an intelligent and self-driven individual, I can create a curriculum from scratch and figure this out. It was back to the library, and online where I found extensive garden-based curriculum resources provided by my beloved state of California from the California School Garden Network. While playing the part of "Miss Tiffanie", I too, became a student of five young, but wise, Farragut Elementary School garden enthusiasts. We had a BLAST!
Photo by: James Yankopolus

                         This blog is a treatise, a tribute, a cheers, my echo of om, to the garden world. This is my collection, my memories, thoughts and stories of where gardening has taken me and where it continues to lead me. May you who enter find inspiration and perhaps, even a seed of your own.



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