Now that the warmer weather has moved in and the grass and trees have grown and leafed out, it's time to get myself back out in the garden. And while my ceramics are clearly inspired by nature, this post is not about my pottery at all.
When I was a teen, my first job was on a flower farm. We had 5 greenhouses, and every spring, we loaded them up with more geraniums than I could count and endless types of annuals, both flowers and vegetables. It was my first introduction to plants, and I can still remember the awe I felt when looking at the leaves and flowers of a primrose, which was my favorite flower at the time. Warren was the farmer I worked for, and he was a shy, quiet man. While he could get very grumpy and mad at the customers, he would mask it by walking off and hiding in his house leaving me and one other worker to do the selling. As an introvert myself, I saw something about myself in him. When plants started blooming, he would light up, and you could see the joy in his face telling you how much he loved what he did. He lived a very simple life, though it seemed lonely from the outside. Still, he was an inspiration to me as a teen, and I ended up applying to agricultural schools because of my time on the farm.
While I did end up attending Cornell's School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I ultimately moved away from my interest in being a farmer. In hindsight, college killed my interest in plant life as a career. I often wish I would have opted for more small farm experience rather than college. No regrets though, every decision we make effects our path which can be corrected at any time.
Some 25 years later, I find myself in my late 40s, working on a flower farm. Hands in the dirt and helping to nurse young seedlings into towering plants that last a single season. I finally have a little bit of land myself, and have been slowly tearing out sections of grass to make room for a vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, bee-loving perennials, and more. I try to do a little bit in the garden every day. Sometimes it's only 5 minutes, but each time I'm in the the garden, I feel I'm doing what I've always been meant to do.
Gardening is a lot of work. It's a full-time job. When working on your own garden, it doesn't pay, and can actually be very expensive, but the payoff is worth it. The issue I have is finding the time to garden while pursuing my ceramics career. Having my studio at home is a blessing because I can take a break from making mugs to weed, or duck into the studio during the hottest part of the day.
I have made a lot of changes to get to where I am today. Working with nature, both in the yard and in the studio feels absolutely right.