Gardening has been my passion since childhood, it has fed me through life’s joys and tragedies. It nurtured my marriage, kept me alive when I no longer wanted to be part of this world, and nudged me to return.
Raised on a Caroline County farm, I found being outside in the dirt was a place where I could relax and focus on the task at hand. I found solace working the soil, kneading the wet earth, or watching the dry dust sift through my fingers. Tasks had a beginning and an end. At the end I could look back at my work…a row of seeds planted, or seedlings transplanted…waiting for them to grow. I instinctively learned about my silent pact with the earth…I will put it here and you will nourish it. And after we have tended it together, we will have something that will feed us either substantively or visually; and then we will start the cycle all over again.
I brought a love of that communion wherever I went. In every yard, I built a garden, not always a successful one; but one that began with promise and imagination. I would tend it, remove the unwanted weeds, water it during droughts, there was always something to do. It was partnership, of interconnected roles; like enduring partnerships, sometimes we fought, sometimes we failed, sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we amazed, but always be together. I have learned that nature is not a one-way street, but a relationship that is always teaching.
I have been an organic gardener from the beginning, not because I was necessarily “woke,” but I recognized I was a temporary steward, and I did not have the right to leave a permanent blemish on the environment. Also, I figured that as a rather inept gardener, I could kill plants without the aid of chemicals.
A garden is about love. A love for beauty, a love for the outdoor miracle our planet provides, a love for the sounds, a love of being enveloped in soft green plants and rustling bushes and trees, a love of sharing the moments that a garden gives.
So fellow gardeners, it is time. Time to get out those magazines, the books, the seed catalogs, get ideas and local plants from friends and garden clubs. Time to plan, this is going to be the year!
Time to hope for rain at just the right time, a cool, wet spring, a gradual mild, summer with weekly thunderstorms; a mild autumn where our plants gracefully return to the earth; and a winter where our perennials, trees, and bushes can find safe harbor.
Everything is possible at this moment!
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.