A green glimmer of hope

Published 10:13 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

I guess I’ll never learn. Despite my previous inability to garden, I have tried again to green up my brown thumb.

My decision was inspired by recent opportunities to interview gardeners for the summer issue of Suffolk Living.

Most of the gardeners I’ve talked to have another job, but all of them still took time to nurture their gardens. And the benefits are many, from being able to enjoy fresh food to improving their health.

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Jeff and Cora Hancock, master gardeners who grow a wide variety of plants, both talked a lot about how there’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. Cora also told me about how her daily consumption of honey from their beehive has cut her allergy suffering in half.

Sally Smith, a gardener in North Suffolk who is earning her master gardener certification, spoke about how grocery store produce can‘t even begin to compare to food that you eat literally minutes after you pick it. She can’t even look at grocery asparagus anymore after experiencing the drastic taste difference between her garden-grown crop and the sad stalks found at stores.

Of course, I’ve known all these things for a long time. But it’s the revelation that children at Oakland Elementary School can keep a garden alive that has motivated me to try again.

The theory is simple: If kids can do it, so can I.

So a few weeks ago I threw a few mint seeds in a pot. I chose min,t because I love mint green tea and I like to make mint biscuits for my dog, whose breath has grown less than pleasant in recent months.

I watered my seeds a few times and then decided that I really didn‘t want to keep watering them every day. So, I taped a bit of plastic wrap on top and set the pot out in the sun, hoping I would create a bit of humidity to keep the soil moist.

And then I forgot about it. Until last week. That’s when I noticed a few green dots had sprung up all over the surface of the dirt. And that’s when I realized I was looking at a mass of tiny mint seedlings. Somehow I had done something right.

I was pretty excited. I might even have jumped up and down when I discovered that I had actually helped something to grow.

It wasn’t until I felt that mix of accomplishment and pride that resulted from seeing those tiny mint plants pop up that I realized why gardening is such an exciting pastime for so many people in Suffolk and beyond.

Every day I check on my seedlings, and every day it looks like they are growing, little by little. And with them grows the hope that I may someday have talent as a gardener.

I admit that a few seedlings is really only a glimmer of hope, but a glimmer is all I need.