A winter ‘garden’

picture of a hanging pot

My garden is temperamental. Things start to grow, but don’t flourish. I keep wanting to blame it on the lack of light, so to avoid being a complaining sitabout, I’m attempting to go vertical. More on that another time, though, when I’ve made some progress.

I want to tell you about my rogue tomato. It was meant to be an overwintered cutting, but the funny Perth climate kept it growing – still a bit leggy from my shady garden, yet it got enough direct afternoon sunlight to sprout a fruit.

a tomato that grew in the middle of winter - 2 days old

So I guess tomatoes need afternoon sun, because there’s another one from the same batch of cuttings getting morning sun and giving no fruit. Pictured above is the tomato at 2 days, then below at roughly 2 weeks. I can’t remember exactly when these photos were taken, but I’m guessing we’re at the 4- or 5-week mark now. It’s bigger, but not that much bigger. The rain has been taking care of it in my shivering, cold-shy absence.

winter tomato, 2 weeks old

I’m excited. I’ve been contemplating my future and what I want out of life. Changing jobs alters one’s routine, lifestyle, environment and cashflow – many things become different even if they resemble your previous life. It’s another set of dice rolls, and I find myself hoping for certain numbers, and uninterested in numbers I previously wanted. This may seem obvious and nornal to anyone who doesn’t think much of it, but I think about it – heaps when it’s something happening right now.

So I’m with a fresh batch of interests – like waking up early, being more open when something upsets me, drinking less, gaming less habitually, and contemplating my future. I’m excited because I want to study horticulture next year, and have recently learned how accommodating the TAFE course structure can be for people who can’t study full time.

My 10-years-ago self would have laughed in your face if you told her she’d give two shits about gardening. Even my one-year-ago self would have been skeptical, amidst a life comprised of saying inappropriate things at boozy dinners and generally assuming she would work in computing forever. But people change, sometimes suddenly – or maybe not so suddenly, and we just don’t get over the person we thought they were as early as we should. I still fear the day I realise all I’ve invested in my garden was for nothing because I’m not actually interested, only caught up in the moment. It’s been two years since I started; it can take so long to adapt to a different sense of self.

Sometimes people change inside, but still surround themselves in the trappings of their old life. Sometimes people don’t change and wonder why the changes they want don’t actuate. I feel agitated in either of those ruts, because I don’t want to shy away from change. Change takes courage and at the end of my life, I’d like to look back and say yes, I did live courageously.

basil cutting in a glass of water

I’m trying to grow basil from a cutting. This is a turning point for me, even though it’s a trivial activity. I remember when I started, while hoping against frightened n00bish hope that my mint would grow, stumbling upon an anecdote about growing basil from cuttings. “Too hard,” I thought, “that can fuck off!”

Turns out it can actually fuck on because I care now and want this guy to flourish. He is my little metaphor for change and courage, not only surviving but trying to grow in the middle of a chilly winter.