Gardening as a Way of Life: Thirteen Year Update of my Garden | Hive Garden Journal # 1

Gardening as a Way of Life

Gardening is a way of life. Yes, some people do it as a job, and some people do it because they have to. But one might label this as "working in the garden". "Gardening", on the other hand, is a relationship with the ground, with the plants, and with the living beings that stay or visit in the garden. One cannot do gardening because you get paid, nor can there be an uninterested necessity linked to it. Gardening is a way of living, a way of being, one in which your connectedness with nature takes the forefront.

I happened to start gardening because I felt a need to get connected and to connect. What do I mean by this? I feel that we as humans have the ability to rectify what we broke down. Homes and properties are inherently destructive. We build our own homes on top of and over other living creature's homes. We dig the soil and move the earth so that we can have an extra TV room we visit maybe once a week. Now I am not saying this is good or bad (I am leaning towards the latter though), what I am saying is that we have the responsibility to in our destruction, create a safe haven for those whom we disrupted. So many people do not garden, they put pavement over the ground because it is easier to maintain. But here I am proposing that we as humans can do better in our destructive nature. We can actually do good, and this is where I felt the need to connect. I feel that we can bring back life in small insignificant ways.

And this is how my journey started in gardening 13 years ago.

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The Year 2008 to the Present

I am lucky to have parents that still let me stay with them after all these years. I am still a student and do not have a job that pays enough for rent yet. As with the rest of the world, South African salaries did not go up, and rent went up the normal story. In any case, I started gardening in 2008 by some odd chance. I started with herbs that I started using in the food I cooked. I cut the grass and did some garden duties. Somewhere I started making compost, and in 2016 I finally convinced my dad to get rid of the lawn so that we can plant indigenous plants. There was a drought in 2016/2017 and I think 2018 where I live, so most of the grass died in any case. Slowly I am still working on him to get rid of more pavement, and slowly I am propagating more and more plants.

The journey has been long. Loads of things did not work out, sometimes plants died, and sometimes things worked out. Most importantly, I have seen so many creatures return to the garden. From insect and spiders, to bees and bumblebees, to birds and moles. The garden lived. Please see below the transformation of the garden in 13 years. (I took some pictures by odd chance when we moved into the new property. I never knew that I would take this journey.) I tried to stand in a similar spot from where the photographs were taken in 2008.

2008

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2021

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2008

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2021

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2008

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2021

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2008

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2021

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2008

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2021

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2008

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(The lemon trees on the left are so small. They grew so large that you cannot see the steps!)

2021

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2008

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2021

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2008

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2021

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A Symphony of Color: Expecting Beautiful Flowers This Summer

I want to end this post off with an update on one of my favorite plants in the garden. In 2020, it flowered so beautifully, and I already posted the image earlier. However, they are starting to flower! They are only starting out now, but I am expecting it to be beautiful as the plant has grown considerably.

Today (16 September 2021)

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Last week (7/8 September 2021)

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Last year (September 2020)

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Gardening for a Better Life

Gardening has become a part of me. Every day I go into the to see the plants, to see if they are doing well. Every other day I turn the compost, add new material to it, and take out the new compost. With this new compost, I make cuttings from the garden and start new plants. I have come to know which plants do well started from cuttings. Sometimes I plant some of the harvested seeds. Sometimes I take out seedlings that pop up in the garden. Sometimes I leave the weeds in the garden, either for me to harvest and eat them, or for their beneficial qualities in the garden. Sometimes I take them out and throw them in the compost. Sometimes I just sit on a stump in the garden and listen. The bird chirping around me, the bees and insects doing their thing. Sometimes I think that we as destructive humans can do so much good. I hope for a better life, a better future for us all. Maybe it will come from one garden, maybe I am naive. But for now, I am gardening and leading a green life.

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