Grow a Love of Gardening

The Pot Spot

| February/March 2006

Container Gardening Essentials

A single potted herb can be the start of a lifelong hobby. That’s the way it started for me — one pot of basil on a rooftop deck. I have discovered many times since then that containers are a wonderful way to introduce anyone, especially a child, to the joys of gardening.

Why a container? Some people honestly think that it takes some magical green thumb to grow a plant. There is no such thing. If you take care of a plant, it grows, no matter what color your thumbs are. Containers are easy and much less intimidating than a garden plot that needs to be weeded and tended, and where many other factors can play a role in success or failure.

Why an herb? Sometimes the simple beauty of a flower is enticement enough to hook a young person into a healthy habit of gardening, but sometimes you need an extra little push. An herb is, by definition, a useful plant, and that usefulness is what gave me, when I was starting, someplace further to go with my newfound fascination with a growing thing. I could not only grow it, but I could learn about its history in cultures all over the world, about all kinds of uses, old-fashioned and new-fangled, for this bit of green.

And, hey, I could even eat it. I can still remember the taste of my first grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil, a simple delight that still brings a rush of nostalgia for me. At the time, I was building a career, busy exploring the possibilities of life, and didn’t have the time or the inclination for a garden. But my pot of basil? That was something else entirely.

Before I knew it, I had pots of three different basils, a parsley plant and a book about herbs. When I filled up the rooftop, I had to buy a house and a garden. And now, so many years later, I know that gardening is one of the most satisfying hobbies I could ever have.

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