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Story by Michelle Horne, Creative Director

Background Art by Sarah Zimmer, Associate Creative Director

A big source of joy for me this past year has been, what I call, “playing in the garden.” Those words are intentional, as I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m making it up as I go based on substantial Googling.


It’s just so incredibly satisfying! There’s the cool touch of the soil. There’s the reward of seeing worms make an appearance when the soil was previously too harsh for them, and you pretty much have to say “hello!” every time you see one like they’re VIP guests. There’s the treat of walking out your door and snipping chives for scrambled eggs like you’re Jacques Pépin. There are more conversations than you’d realize possible about ornamental grasses. There’s a neighbor saying, “I like what you did there!” and feeling like you’re on the suburban Honor Roll. There’s even research that shows exposure to microbes and fungi in the soil may help improve your health.


Is that wonderful or what?!


We have put a lot of plants in our garden with intention, but we also make space for the experiments because it’s somehow cooler when you just let Mother Nature do her thing. That weed is different. Is that burdock root? Can I eat that? (Enter Google: “Pick when tender, not 6 feet tall.”) My favorite experiment was a pumpkin plant popping up out of nowhere. We helped it through a bout of powdery mildew and it yielded a perfectly round pumpkin for our stoop. Speaking of Halloween, the flower head of a dried-up purple coneflower from my neighbor’s garden accidentally made its way into my daughter’s trick-or-treat bag, so we sprinkled the seeds in our garden. What will happen? I truly have no idea.


And there are always more surprises. Digging in the soil I’ve found old tiles that show one of our bathrooms used to be an amazing pink. I’ve found a letter C made out of rocks that the previous family who lived here set in the garden bed and had covered with wood chips to represent their family name.


My hands dig where so many other sets of hands have dug for thousands of years and there are still so many more stories to cultivate.

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