I’ve never had a green thumb. I have envied other people’s landscaping, thought it would be nice to have pretty flowers of my own, wondered why I couldn’t keep plants alive for more than a few weeks. After several failed attempts as a homeowner to add color to my yard, and without the big budget I thought I needed to hire someone to come in and do everything for me, I had resigned myself many years back to the fact that I’m just not a plant person and so what if I don’t have the most attractive yard.
Since starting to work at Sickles Market a little over a year ago, though, being surrounded by all the pretty plants, trees, and flowers every day, I became more enchanted by their appeal and it re-awakened my desire to put some of that beauty in my own life. The only problem was I still had no clue where to start, what to plant, where and how to lay it all out, how to arrange and combine different types of plants, and how to take care of them so they’d actually stay alive.
I embarked on a project to transform my landscape from barren to bountiful, sorry to sumptuous – and share what I learned with others like me. Sickles Market’s Garden Center professionals made it all possible, guiding me from planning and plant selection to final primping with outdoor accessories.
Today my front yard is charming and cheerful. I’ve enhanced the curb appeal of my home and I’m proud not only because it looks so nice, but because I’m keeping things alive and beautiful. My back yard is the private, inviting, and comfortable living space I always wanted, but just didn’t know how to make possible. My kids and I were sitting out back one night recently, when we looked around and one of them said, “Can you believe we’re sitting in our back yard?!” It was like a whole new way for us to enjoy being together. I got a little choked up as I realized our landscape transformation was a lot more than a landscape transformation. It had added new dimensions to our life.
Not only have we enjoyed hanging out together in our new outdoor living space, we had fun doing a lot of the work along the way, digging holes for the new plants, digging out bricks and debris from our planting beds to get ready to plant, visiting with neighbors while outside weeding or watering, chatting with each other while deadheading or watering our flower boxes out front.
One of my daughters remarked while we were preparing the beds for planting (digging out bricks and other debris that we found buried) that “It’s like making sure a child has a good home environment to grow up in. If there’s a lot of bad stuff that doesn’t belong in the bed, the plant may not be able to grow right.”
My other daughter looked at our flower boxes the other day and said, “I can’t believe how big and full the flowers have gotten. I guess that’s because we’re taking care of them.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but these comments (and there have been many more like them), as well as my own random and philosophical thoughts along the way, seem kind of significant to me – like maybe there’s more to this landscape transformation than making our house look nicer, or improving our property value, or giving ourselves more pleasant outdoor living space, or learning ‘how to do plants.’ Sure It makes me feel good as a neighbor and a homeowner – and frankly as Sickles’ marketing manager -- but it also makes me feel good as a mom and as a person living an examined life. It’s reminded me that it’s never too late to try again something you may not have succeeded at in the past; never too late to learn something new. There’s always more than one way to work around an obstacle. Asking for and accepting help can be uncomfortable, but it connects you to your own humanity and it connects you to the people around you. And no matter how insurmountable something may seem, if you simply keep putting one foot in front of another, you will eventually get where you want to be. You can’t snap your fingers and make something happen, but taking one step at a time is a positive and powerful way to get where you’re going.
I think about the project being “complete” and I realize it’s just the creation that’s done. The maintenance goes on day to day, dead-heading the trailing vinca in my window boxes, weeding our beds, contemplating seasonal changes, pruning, and future phases, like planting perennials and more annuals next year. But instead of feeling un-doable, it feels good. There’s no rush, my kids seem interested in working on it with me, and I’m grateful that the people at Sickles Market are not only experts who’ll steer me right on what, where, and when to plant, but also friends that have joined and supported me in my journey.