Weeds pile up next to the lavender bed.
Weeds pile up next to the lavender bed.

I was weeding my lavender bed the other day, and it occurred to me that I’d written about a character who found peace, tranquility, and a sense of purpose from working in a garden.

Yeah, right, I told myself, as I grabbed a hunk of grass with my bare hand, hoping I didn’t get any dirt under my fingernails. What was I thinking, or more accurately, what was my character, Laura, thinking, spending her free time in a garden when she could have been shopping in Paris? Sipping wine in New York, or hobnobbing with the elegant and chic in L.A.?

Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t want to do any of those things either. Big cities bore me, after about a day. I prefer sipping wine while I cook, and the elegant and chic are usually the vapid as well. So, maybe my character really was on to something.

That was a few days ago, and when I walked past my lavender bed this morning, I caught a trace of the scent—the buds are just forming, the scent barely a wisp. I remembered the day I’d spent last May, putting the plants in—it was hard, back-breaking, dirty work (I’m a wimp, okay?). But the payoff—definitely worth it.

I think my character felt the same way. The sweet scent of lavender, the crisp fresh-picked lettuce, the satisfaction of digging up a carrot you’ve purposely planted—all these are more rewarding than a cocktail party in an exclusive New York club, right?

Here's what it looked like last May, when I planted the "crop" of lavender.
Here’s what it looked like last May, when I planted the “crop” of lavender.

Here’s an interview with my character, Laura, where she talks about her new-found love of gardening. I guess if my mother had arranged dates for me and taken me to therapy, I’d have found gardening a refreshing change as well.


3 Comments on The elusive benefits of gardening

  1. AshleyOlivia
    June 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm (11 years ago)

    I blame two circumstances on my inability to garden: I cannot abide dirt under my fingernails (I harbor fears that the dreadful headmaster from Lowood will appear to punish me), and the soil at my parents’ house is very sandy (everything I planted always died within a week).

    However, those gorgeous lavender plants make me want to attempt gardening again! When I live somewhere other than a third floor apartment, that is.

    • Kathryn Barrett
      June 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm (11 years ago)

      Oh, I know what you mean! And actually, there’s a tip that my character, Laura, divulges in Temptation: scrape your fingernails in soap before gardening! It prevents dirt from getting under your nails! Of course, now you have soap under your nails, but that’s not as bad!

      Good luck on that future garden!

  2. AshleyOlivia
    June 21, 2013 at 3:38 am (11 years ago)

    Oh, I will have to try that! Maybe with lavender soap…


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