At some point in the midst of COVID madness, I received a message from the WordPress gods that my blog had reached its 9th anniversary, the gift for which is pottery (hence, the opening photo). That announcement, in combination with all of the quarantine days and weeks and months I’ve had to work in the garden, I’ve had some — and by some, I mean a lot of — time to reflect on this blog… where it began (during my time as a Long Island gardener), where it is now (during my time as a South Florida gardener), where it’s going (I haven’t a clue), and all points in between.
Over the past few months, I have been inundated with emails about my potting shed. Most people want to know where they could purchase the same kit. When I explain that the shed is Joe’s original design, they want specifics.
So with a lot of help from Joe, here is a post that has been a long time coming. Additional photos and information can be found in “The Potting Shed” tab above.
Before there was a potting shed, there was me — on a mission to start seeds in advance of the planting season, and Joe — on a mission to reclaim the kitchen and dining room from trays and flats of new sprouts. Surveying my long and leggy seedlings, I said, “If I had a potting shed, I’d be dangerous.”
Little did I know that that sentence, a seed traveling on waves of sound, would eventually settle into one of the folds of Joe’s brain, taking root and springing into action.
Joe and I made the drive from New York to South Florida, and in 24 hours, we experienced three seasons. We began our journey in winter and then arrived in spring by the time we reached South Carolina. Once in Florida, it was all-out summer.
This trip is why I didn’t start any seeds in February. There would be no one to take care of my seedling babies during the final week of March. Needless to say, I missed working in the potting shed and watching geraniums and impatiens and petunias make their debut onto the world stage.
It’s the main reason why I’m taking this walk down memory lane, a repost of last year’s seed starting experience and a chance to reminisce. By the way, seeds will be started when I return to Long Island: zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos — seeds that like to be sown where they’ll grow. Now that I read that sentence, I like to think of myself in the same way. I like to be planted where I can grow.
Yesterday, I was humming Christmas carols. Today, my lyrics sound more like this:
“There’s got to be a morning after, if we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine; let’s keep on looking for the light.
Oh, can’t you see the morning after? It’s waiting right outside the storm.
Why don’t we cross the bridge together and find a place that’s safe and warm?”
I arrived home from work today, just in time for the opening volley of a February blizzard. Like a good blogger, I grabbed the camera, ventured out into the 1″ of snow, took some photos, and hummed a few songs to myself — songs better suited for Christmas.
Lately, this is how I envision my brain: shards of broken terracotta strewn across the potting bench. Where I once had a clear vision and firm ideas, I now feel a bit scattered and disorganized. My struggle is to figure out why — why I can’t seem to focus; can’t seem to be motivated; can’t seem to get back to my two posts a week schedule.
My first thought is that I have stumbled into a very bad case of bloggers’ block. Perhaps I’ve overextended myself — time needed for work and time dedicated to writing seem to be at odds with each other. Perhaps the freshest ideas have all been used in the first year of this blog — after all, once you write a piece on the joys of raking, how many more autumns can you possibly write the same thing?
Then, just as I try to make sense of all these thoughts and worries, stacking them just so — one piece falls from the pile and I soon find myself once again in the throes of worry.
I’m a fraud. A fake. A pretender. And the proof is in the potting shed.
Yes, this is my jewel of a potting shed – the one that takes center stage in many of my photos, the place where I find peace in the middle of winter as I start my seeds, the backyard structure that allows me to believe that I have a Martha (no need for last names here) existence.
Clearly, though, nothing could be further from the truth.
I came to the realization long ago that I am not, no matter how hard I try, Martha-esque. I get dirty when I garden. I have a tendency to use every pot in the kitchen when I cook (although I now know to clean as I go). And I have been known to step on the prongs of a rake, sending the handle swinging up into the side of my head — on more than one occasion. But it’s the condition of this shed that really says, “You, sir, are no Martha.”