May marks the start of my 24 th year in the publishing industry. At 44, that’s over half my life! I’ve gone through many roles, projects, and iterations since 2001, and I imagine there are many more ahead. But one thing I hope to never give up—apart from my wit and my literary
abilities—is my love of gardening.

My grandparents on my mom’s side were epic gardeners; my grandpa even had an award-winning rose garden. I grew up walking through the rows in a makeshift towel cape, like I was queen of the flowers. My mother is a fantastic gardener as well. Her entire yard is landscaped with rock walls and pathways she built herself, and flowerbeds overflowing with color and texture. So, naturally, there was never a question as to whether I’d also have multiple gardens when I had a space of my own.

During the pandemic, container gardening on my front porch enabled me to wake up each day and see a tiny amount of overnight growth from the multiple varieties of veggie seeds I’d planted. I knew if I did nothing else productive that day, I had kept the plants watered and made sure they had plenty of sun. As silly as that sounds, gardening helped keep me sane while so much in life was uncertain. And gardening has helped me ever since.

Whether I’m cutting flowers for a beautiful bouquet, making a dinner salad, rearranging my tomato pots, or plucking caterpillars off my kale, my garden is my happy place and I love sharing it with others. My lettuces and other veggies are already overflowing so much that I’ve had to reach out to friends and family to grocery shop my yard. Just this past weekend I had two friends stop by and gather bags full of produce for the week. Mission accomplished!

So, what does gardening have to do with writing? Nothing, really. But it has taught me a lot about life.

1. Everything grows in cycles, not consistently all year long. The soil needs to rest and so do I.

2. Too much growth makes a plant bitter or the taste dull (deadhead the bolts and harvest at the right time). When I overwork myself, I get really grumpy. Just ask my sister.

3. Water, dirt, and sunlight are necessary for plants and for my happiness.

4. Pests are always happy to eat holes in your produce. Squish them and move on. Same for people who love nothing more than to meddle in your business or who aren’t supportive. (Probably shouldn’t squish them though.)

5. Daily care of the garden is best to prevent problems that take more time, energy, and resources to fix. Being proactive in life does the same thing.

Not everyone can garden, but I bet there’s one outlet or a hobby that helps you regulate your days and brings you joy. Whatever that is—do more of that.