Two projects are nearly ready to be published: a CD and book! Below are samples of the kinds of stories that will be incorporated into a jazz CD.
A book, whose working title, Gardening for Life is nearly ready for publication. Read the foreword below:
For me gardening is not only about vast horticulture knowledge or the ability to memorize Latin names. It is not about simply conquering moles, or deer. It is not about perfection, about taming and controlling one’s turf or perennial bed. It is not just another mundane task we do, like vacuuming or doing the laundry.
Gardening is about a love relationship with the Earth. It is about caring for and being cared for by a living energy that has the power to teach us and transform our lives. It is an energy that feeds, that breathes into us both physically and metaphorically, giving to our bodies and spirits. The garden is both cultivated and uncultivated, tamed and wild. It lives wherever there is land. The garden is a healer, the one constant place that I can know God.
The purpose of this book is to record the ways gardening has profoundly affected the lives of women. Whether overcoming grief and loss, discovering their true passion as collectors or teachers, connecting with their children or grandchildren, changing their communities for the better, creating a means of income for their families, each of these women have put down roots, and grown meaningful lives.
I began meeting some of these women while attending Master Gardener classes in 1994 and later serving as the Director of Education at the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. Besides hosting numerous events for gardeners, I founded a gardening publication called The Gardener’s Network to promote more than sixty non profit green related groups in my community. During this time, I was a garden writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer and a public speaker. I enjoyed networking, and allowing novice and experienced gardeners to find kindred spirits and the resources they were seeking, and to “woo” newcomers to the garden. Much of that same spirit is in this book.
Before the years I worked professionally in the garden, it had been working on me. As I looked back on my life, I began to discover how the garden had appeared like a loving presence giving me hope and comfort when I felt abandoned by everyone else. A connection with the Earth was of the heart, and something I could count on.
Perhaps it was because I was an only child, with a very small extended family, but I immediately felt a kinship with other gardeners, a sense of belonging. The generous and gregarious quality that characterized many of the women I met simply drew me to the garden. Here I created a satisfying life as a single mother that sustained me and my children. I discovered a sense of family and learned wisdom from many of the women you’ll meet in this book.
I share these stories when all of us are beginning to truly understand that our actions effect all of our well being on the Earth, that stewardship, rather than dominion of the Earth, is what must be our imperative, if our children’s children are going to continue to enjoy the benefits of living on this planet. I offer these stories when many women are overworked, overly stressed, and overweight and it is difficult to find an extra hour to eat a beautifully prepared meal of fresh vegetables and fruit, and exercise regularly. I offer these stories when many of our children grow up with very little time or freedom to begin their own relationship with the Earth. I write these words to celebrate the reality that a search for a down-to-earth path of peace and a means of authentic spirituality can be found in the garden.
Join me as we walk through each month of the year, discovering all of the gifts of the garden. This book can be enjoyed from the first chapter, or feel free to dig in during the season of the year when you begin your own journey. Gardening is for Life!
Peggy Greenleaf St. Clair