I have worked on my garden off and on the last few weeks, but it seems that no matter what my priorities for the day might be I find myself doing something with my garden project. And it is a project, to be sure. First off, the things that grow best here are rocks. Creating any suitable growing space requires digging and lots of it. Even when the boulders and large rocks have been removed the dirt needs to be screened to remove the next batch of rock, leaving mostly pebbles. Organic compost of some sort is a must, otherwise it is just pebble filled dirt, not even close to soil. Then there is the fence issue, or rather the lack of fencing issue, which means the deer are compelled to sample everything including the leaves of my tomato plant (yuck) to the “deer resistant” plants that I put in for color. Undaunted, I plug away.
I realized this evening as I transplanted my basil seedlings ever so carefully that this is my outlet for the nurturing part of my soul. Each night I carefully cover my rose-bush with a 30 gallon garbage can weighted with rocks; I knew rocks were good for something! All of my veggies that I have here at home are in pots, which are nightly placed in the shed, then brought out at first light each morning. As I did this again this evening, it dawned on me that the need to care for something is a deep and abiding part of who I am.
Yes, I take pleasure in the visual result of the products of my labors, be it a clean house, the yard neatly trimmed or the myriad tasks that take my time and effort. But that I wander back to the garden to pluck a spent bloom, stake a drooping pepper plant, or work just a little more compost into the soil, speaks of something deeper than the esthetics or practicality of gardens. To nurture nature and all that it holds and symbolizes, and to allow nature to nurture me, is to bring myself and this place to harmony and balance.
In the greater picture it seems that it is not a debate of nature vs. nurture; they are not adversaries. It is instead how the nature of a person or place is brought along to be their fullest and most beautiful self as a result of kind and mindful nurturing. To be fully present tending our garden of lovely blooms, be they persons or plants, giving all of our attention and care in that moment, is to be the help-mate of nature in all of its splendid variety.