Learning to Bloom wherever you’re planted…
The preface to My Wild Herban Garden..
Many years ago when I was dating Jim, his sister lived with her husband and his parents, Harvey and Marion. They lived deep in downtown Cleveland, in a old victorian house that was warm and worn in all the right places. In order to date Jim of course, I had to have Harvey and Marion’s approval as they loved him like another son and fed him regularly. So every weekend for several months I had to come for dinner. I say “HAD TO”, but I truly loved it.
It was always a wonderful family style dinner, fried chicken, meatloaf with all of the trimmings, fresh biscuits and gravy…Marion was an amazing cook. That being said, it was the huge platters of vegetables that were stunning. Fresh green beans, sweet lettuces, squashes, gorgeous tomatoes, fresh herbs and sweet corn..everything you could dream of and more.
The only thing? Their home was right in the middle of what we now call a food desert, in other words, there wasn’t a grocery store within a ten minute drive, only convenient food mart stores. Real food, fresh food was not easily available. It was the first time in my young sheltered life that I began to understand the reality of food insecurity for so many people in this country, but that’s a whole other article.
One day I got up the nerve to ask him about all of his beautiful food. Instead of being met with disapproval, Harvey smiled at me and said..”Young lady, I thought you’d never ask. I’ll show you when we’re done eating! “
We got up after dinner and I followed him out the back door. I will never forget my first sight of Harveys garden. On a postage stamp sized plot of land that was mostly concrete he had created a literal paradise.
Harvey was a Herban Kitchen Gardener well before his time. He was growing everything in containers and in straw bales and what little bit of land was available was completely utilized. He had wire trellises and a few small raised beds. He had things growing in large buckets. He had some flowers for cutting. His productivity per square foot was off the charts. He was an astonishingly good gardener who really understood soil and plant nutrition and when he saw how interested I genuinely was, he generously shared some of his secrets. Besides my father, no one taught me more about raising healthy, delicious and beautiful plants.
Fast forward a few years and Jim and I were married. We bought a farm in Burton, Ohio and lived there for 20 years. We sold it only when I needed to move into town to be closer to my parents who were aging and beginning to really need my help. I found myself for the first time in many years without a patch of soil to call my own. To add to my sad mood, I had just closed my families business, which had been my own life’s work and I was grieving. I was completely bereft, but at my lowest moment I heard Harveys voice. “ Young lady! Stop your crying and use the space you have. “
What follows when you click this link below is a bit of that love story with pictures. Thank you so much for reading it!
If you have questions about the thoughts here, please feel free to comment/ask questions or DM me on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.
“What is a weed? A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. “-Ralph Waldo Emerson