Updated: Jun 23
Hindsight is 2020. I find that very ironic because my hindsight takes me right back to 2020!
January 3rd. If that picture above doesn't epitomize that time in my life, I don't know what does! I found myself in our new "forever home," located out on some acreage and a little further than I would have liked from our closest neighbors but that was going to be fine! I was juggling a four-month old in one arm and a two-year-old in the other but we had lots of space to roam and were not too far from our "essentials." Enter, March. Lockdown. I already felt a little like I was in lockdown with two babies at home but this was the nail in the coffin.
I don't know why we don't talk more openly about post-partum health but I'm happy to share my journey in hopes that it helps someone else! Whether it was sleep-induced or not, postpartum depression became a part of my story and I could feel myself needing something "for me" that not only gave me a break (even if it was only for ten minutes) but also that brought me joy and that I looked forward to each day. I looked at my husband and told him, "I think I need a garden, STAT." That's the nurse side coming out in me, I guess...or the bossy side (maybe my husband would say).
He is always more than thrilled to jump behind a piece of machinery or work outside with his hands so with the help of my parents, we had a 40'x40' area of the hillside tilled up in a half a day. "Nap-time gardening" began! If you've ever pushed a shovel into the ground in Mississippi, it's a little like powering through stale play-dough. Can you grow things? Absolutely! Will they be stunted and overrun with weeds and experience a lot of root-rot because of it? Definitely! But regardless of the "successes" and "failures" that summer, something in me began to transform. I acquired a voracious appetite for knowledge about all things vegetable gardening. My husband and I would spend each evening utilizing the last little bit of energy to get the kids to bed and then we would both swan-dive into our restful places which was Parks and Rec for him and a long soak in the tub for me while I watched hours upon hours of YouTube Videos all about vegetable gardening. Maybe I should have used that time to catch up on some sleep but I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I loved watching a 2mm seed grow into a 10-pound cabbage and how that could possibly even happen!
My gardening journey quickly evolved into a raised bed journey and I never looked back. (Insert picture of plant size difference). I couldn’t stop thinking about gardening, actually gardening and most notably talking about gardening! I’m sorry if you were in my circle in 2020 and 2021 because you probably got sick of hearing about carrots and potatoes and planting okra from seed! Actually, the more I talked about it the more I realized how much people were interested in growing food but at the same time were terrified of the daunting task of starting their own garden. So, I said “yes” to helping a friend and her husband figure out how to DIY their own garden. Then I said “yes” to another friend and this time I drew up the design and hired the crew. Then I said ”yes” to a few friends of friends who were interested in learning how to garden and I started to realize that there were a lot of wannabe gardeners out there. I had found my people! Then, in January of 2022, Cedar Hill Gardens was born.
Over the next 12 months, we built 22 gardens from the ground up (no pun intended) and helped revive and refresh probably 50 more. And do you know what I’ve found after being with all of you? The garden is a place of goodness! I’ll give you five dollars if you can tell me one thing that is inherently bad about having a garden. (Weeds don’t count because they actually serve a purpose too believe it or not!) That’s a blog post for another day.
If you’re thinking about gardening, give it a try. Some things will grow and some might not. In some things, you’ll have wild, unanticipated success and in others you‘ll wind up scratching your head and wondering what you could do differently next time. Isn’t that a lot like life? But the garden is about so much more than a couple of heirloom cherry tomatoes. It’s watching your kiddos try a green bell pepper for the first time or seeing that first ladybug of spring. It’s being in your 30s and planting a seed for the first time and then watching it actually work!!. It’s making new friends and sharing gardening tips and tricks. That community that I lost somewhere in the thick of raising babies and navigating a worldwide pandemic has come back to me a hundred-fold and I could not be more grateful to get to watch all of YOU grow from my front row seat in the garden.