Gardening is one of the simplest and beautiful hobbies I can imagine and it is what I love to do. My family has quiet a few gardens, 3 in the front of our house, 4 in the back (one of those being a vegetable garden) and then there are hanging baskets and pots littering our various porches.
Every Spring it’s so exciting, seeing all of our flowers start peeking out of the ground getting ready to bloom and of course who doesn’t love buying more flowers. All of the colors mesh together and turn into a beautiful watercolor of real life, vivid and brilliant, so fragile they could be snapped by fingertips but strong enough to survive wind, rain and hail.
My favorite part, my responsibility are the pots on our back porch and 6 plants in one of our back gardens. Those are my herb pots and my lavender plants. Currently I have 3 varieties of lavender (Munstead, French, Hidcote) and 2 varieties of lavender cotton (Green and Grey). My list of herbs is long: Rosemary, Doone Valley Thyme, Puerto Rican Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Apple Mint, Orange Mint, Cinnamon Basil, Sweet Basil, Purple Basil, Spicy Globe Basil, Cilantro, Chamomile, Mexican Tarragon, Flat Leaf Parsley, pineapple Sage and Berggarten Sage.
I just love growing anything that I can work with. I can dry all of those plants and use them in cooking, baking or dried arrangements! The Hidcote Lavender is even edible and has a bit of a minty aftertaste. I can take something that I have cared for and worked on growing for just a season or for years and I don’t have to watch their beauty fade every winter, I can bring that watercolor into my home.
The lavender looks just beautiful with some dried Hydrangea blossoms or straw flowers, delicately tied at the base of their stems with ribbons. Or my personal favorite, in the Fall, Pineapple Sage has brilliant, fiery red flowers that shoot out the top in little spiky formations. It really does look like my plant has caught fire and those flames have been frozen in the crisp autumn air. Mexican Tarragon, another beautiful yellow flower, so tiny and dainty, the branches twisting and turning to get to the sunshine. They dry in such intricate designs and smell fantastic when burned as insence. After drying red sage them and pairing them with sunshine frozen in yellow straw flowers and tarragon, the purple sunset frozen in lavender, you have an entire painting, a living watercolor of a beautiful outdoor scene from where ever you want: France, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Colorado, at your fingertips.
After all that work, growing, cutting, rinsing, drying, it makes me so happy to see mis abuelos smile when I give them herbs, or my aunts or neighbors. It’s something so small, just some plants from the garden, but for some reason it makes people a little happier then they were before. I guess food really does bring people together.
Gardening is such a simple hobby, but it comes with such great rewards. Sometime nature just astounds me, the beauty that is so easily overlooked right outside your door. Their ability to be one of the simplest miracles in life, the birth of an entity, the opening of a flower so vibrant you wonder how that’s even possible for something to be so beautiful.
These are all the reasons I love my living watercolor.