I never put much thought into my grandmother’s words until after I started gardening. Looking at plants that were absolutely too large for the space they were in, seeing plants burn up in the heat of the summer sun and watching horn worms devour my tomatoes; I went into the second year thinking I had everything etched in my brain and that would help me make sure I didn’t make the same mistakes again. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had forgotten so many details that I had intended to and really needed to remember. The thought of the time it would consume and take away from actual gardening made my soul continue to fight against keeping records. I remembered more and more each year, but then I decided to start a gardening website and business. It quickly became apparent to me that my venture would be an epic failure if I didn’t start writing things down.
I still wanted to fight against record keeping, so I started out putting everything on the computer. I grew very tired of having to go inside, wash all the garden crud off and get on the computer to look at my records. Then I got an android phone and starting carrying it in my garden bag. That tiny screen was hard to read and my phone got so dirty. With a battered spirit, I finally conformed. I found a spiral notepad in the basement and sat there for a while staring at it. Then I started writing down ideas. Some were single words; others were catchy titles for articles and blogs. Things I needed to do to build my business, plants I wanted to grow for my plant sale and online resources I wanted to keep for reference.
Yes, I still could have done all this on the computer, but it seemed better somehow to put it on paper. That way I could carry it around with me and jot new ideas down whenever they came to me. I kept writing and writing until I felt I had exhausted my ideas for the day. After making pages of notes, I thought back to the days before computers. People diligently kept journals to document their lives and many of them have become a well known part of history. Why had I held back for so long? Couldn’t my writings some day become a part of history? Maybe not, but I suddenly felt it was worth it to keep writing down my thoughts even if it would only become a way for me to see how I’ve progressed as a writer and gardening professional. I had made a note about soil conditioning as a newsletter article and before I knew it, I was writing the entire article down in my new journal. Thoughts came pouring out of my head faster than I could write. Sentences became fragments so my hand could keep up with my mind and not miss a single thought.
I finished writing my soil conditioning article and started to read it over. Notes took over the margins; things were scratched out and rewritten. I looked at the jumbled mess on paper and had to smile. It made me think of something a mad person has written and in a way it had been. My passion for gardening and wanting to share it with the world had taken over and that passion made me a different person while writing. Now I knew there was a deeper reason for starting a journal and it wasn’t just for ideas. Writing that article rather than typing it forced a sense of urgency. The urgency I lost a few months after starting my website and gardening business and the urgency I so desperately needed to get things going permanently this time around. I can still picture the notes my grandmother made in her journal and it brings a smile to my face. I am thankful for remembering my grandmother’s words, because now I truly know where I came from. And I certainly know where I'm headed.