Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.May Sarton
A few months ago, when I realised I would be stuck in the city, and Ben would be stuck at our farm, because it’s been that kind of a year with COVID and lockdowns, I decided to start a herb garden.
I wanted a tiny patch of soil that I could tend each day, and where I could go to pick a few sprigs of fresh herbs to brighten and enliven my simple meals.
At the time I was housebound and with no car, so anything I purchased had to be home delivered. In desperation I bought a few kitchen herbs from my supermarket that were in pots – Italian Parsley, Curly Parsley, Basil, Sage. They arrived half-dead. But I had to work with what I had. Carefully I dug out an old garden bed under the kitchen window, added some compost and coffee grounds, placed my small, withered, miserable herb specimens in the ground, mulched them and hoped for the best.
Each morning I would water them via a bucket while my coffee brewed, and then I would sit at a tiny outside table and watch the birds and take in the energy of the trees in my backyard. I often came back to visit my little garden at day’s end too. It was a satisfying relationship, which gave me great comfort.
Eventually I bought myself a car and on one of my infrequent shopping trips I bought a few more sickly-looking plants from the local hardware store. They went into the garden bed as well – Rosemary, Oregano, Chives, Mint, Lemon Thyme, Pizza Thyme, Sweet Williams and Alyssum (because flowers are good for the soul).
A few weeks of love later my plants began to grow and look healthy. Now I have the pleasure of snipping off a few leaves to add to my cooking, or just to nibble. And there are flowers to enjoy too.
You could do the same, with a pot on your windowsill or balcony, or in a tub or small bed in your yard. It’s a simple thing, which doesn’t take much time, but which gives so many benefits, only one of which is fresh herbs for your meals. The peace and connection you find through gardening, and the visual pleasure and satisfaction of watching something grow can not be underestimated.
Hugs and love, Nicole xx