You might have noticed we’ve recently published a smattering of non-travel related articles on Enjoy Travel Life. Are you scratching your head? Think you’re in the wrong place? Maybe you’re thinking, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, you’re right—and you’re wrong. Read on to find out what’s behind the series of gardening articles on this travel blog.
CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn why Enjoy Travel Life is publishing gardening articles, and how you might benefit from it.
- Background: The Way Back Machine
- Memories of the Boston Flower & Garden Show
- The More Things Change…
- A Visit to My Garden Portfolio
- Why It May Be Important to You
- What You Can Expect from Enjoy Travel Life
Background: The Way Back Machine
Long before I was a travel blogger, I was a freelance writer (“stringer”) for the local newspapers. That included my home town newspaper and a few regional and national magazines. I covered home, garden, and parenting.
At that time in my life, I was a new homeowner and parent to two small children, Alison and James. I shutter to think that was more than twenty-five years ago.
I was pretty-much homebound, unless for a playdate or pre-school drop-off.
But I was excited about making my home look like those I’d see in the pages of magazines. I was even more excited about growing my own vegetables and beautiful flowers.
Experts call this phase of life “nesting,” as I prepared my home for my growing family.
That’s when the gardening bug hit. And let me tell you, it hit hard.
So, I delved deep into square-foot gardening, organic gardening, how to grow and care for flower beds, lawns, shrubs, and trees. And I wrote about everything I learned.
I became a member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and took in free lectures at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Dover, Mass. I even considered applying to the Master Gardener program, an exclusive hand-picked group of would-be horticulturists.
But my favorite part of being a “Mass Hort” member was early admission to the annual Boston Flower & Garden Show.
Members were admitted to the event, then held at the Bayside Exposition Center in March, as early as 6AM. That hour was long before the crowds poured in.
Mind you, Bayside is about an hour from my home. It meant me and my bestie would hit the road at 5AM on a Saturday morning with coffees in hand to gain access to the show, while the kids and our spouses were sound asleep. What an adventure!
Now, if you know anything about New England in March, it comes on the heels of several months of a deep winter freeze filled with frigid nights and gray days. The gloom of February challenges even the most optimistic thinker’s resolve. And, there’s still a good chance it will snow in May…or April.
So, the flower show was an event worthy of rising early.
Memories of The Boston Flower & Garden Show
One step into the Boston Flower & Garden Show, and you’d be immersed in the earthy scent of fresh mulch, the sound of rushing water garden features and birdsong (recorded), and the vibrant, inspiring garden displays. In a word: Spring. You could even leave with some new garden gadgets, a fistful of seed packets, and a garden-themed gift. But most importantly, you’d find garden inspiration.
Related article: Find inspiration at these beautiful botanical gardens.
The show has long since changed venues and, I’ve heard vendor booths may have squeezed out the number of much-loved garden displays.
Just as well for me.
As my children and garden grew up, I was ready for a new foot-loose phase of life. Experts call this phase “empty-nesting.” Essentially, I was free from the responsibilities of home and children. My new passion became (and remains) travel, long-awaited and well-deserved.
Wanderlust took a strong hold of me, so I spent the last three years exploring near and far. (One might say I chose travel as my mid-life love affair.)
And that’s how this blog, Enjoy Travel Life, began. It was the the celebration of a new chapter in my life, my foray to empty-nesting.
The More Things Change…
Flash forward to 2020.
The sad events of a world pandemic rage on as I write this post.
While I can draw upon the memories, stories, and photos from my past travels, I’d be lying if I told you that thoughts of travel were sustaining me throughout these difficult times.
Oh sure, travel remains my passion and I can’t wait to get back to it when the time is right.
In the mean time, you’ll find a some new incarnations of travel on Enjoy Travel Life in addition to the usual dreamy travel features. For instance, expect to see more coverage of:
The truth is, as much as I love travel, it’s gardening, my old friend and passion, who has offered the comfort and hope that occupies my hands and my thoughts right now.
I am actively embracing the familiar garden quote, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Counting My Blessings
Not only has a renewed interest in gardening occupied my time, but this time around in the garden, I’ve been blessed to have my son at home. As a recent college grad whose education was so rudely interrupted by the pandemic, it’s my gain.
I cannot begin to describe what a blessing it is to garden alongside James. I remember him, with my daughter Alison, picking pea pods and cherry tomatoes with their tiny chubby hands, long before the harvest ever made it to the kitchen.
Now, James as a young man is enthusiastic about turning the garden, amending it with organic ingredients, asking questions and learning how to tend the earth and grow food for himself.
Like the seasons and the garden itself, things at home have come full circle.
And so have my gardening articles.
A Visit to My Garden Portfolio
As a young writer, I saved every clip that was published. Each one is photocopied, laminated, and has held a place of honor in my writing portfolio and professional journey. This was in the day when “it was hard to get published.” (TIP: Don’t believe them. It’s not as hard as you think, then or now.)
What an interesting experience it has been to dust off those home & garden pieces and repurpose them here on Enjoy Travel Life.
It’s a fascinating retrospective to see and edit my own work from my 20s now, as a more experienced writer. Some articles I’ve rewritten almost in entirety. (Oh, what I had yet to learn!) Others just need a little spit-shine and a relevant intro, and they’re ready to share with you.
Unlike news stories or trends, or even travel writing in some instance, gardening stories are timeless.
As a home gardener, you will test the viability of seeds, deadhead flowers, and maximize your vegetable garden‘s yield the same way now as you would have thirty years ago. Or 50 years ago. Or even 100 or more years ago. Articles like these are called “evergreen” with good reason.
Why These Articles May Be Important to You
So, why didn’t I just start another blog exclusive to gardening altogether?
Many travel bloggers have done so in these uncertain times, where changes to the travel industry are likely to be long lasting and far reaching.
Here’s why I didn’t do that.
It’s because I think travelers could use some hope.
I invite you to envision these gardening articles as though you are stepping into that fresh breath of sweet air at the flower show. Breathe it in. I urge you to breathe deeply.
Maybe you’re also thinking, how can I start a garden as a traveler when I won’t be home much?“
Well, you see, that’s the good news.
You can have both.
You can travel, and you can have a beautiful, productive, rewarding garden at home.
Many folks don’t know that. I’m here to tell you it can be done with ease.
So, stay tuned for more in-depth gardening articles and you’ll learn how.
What You Can Expect from Enjoy Travel Life
And, despite our current circumstances, at season’s end, maybe you will have found a small, silver-lining, too. Perhaps you’ll discover the importance of your home and garden, no matter how small it is.
Like me, perhaps you’ll also come to realize (if you haven’t already) that we all need to have a safe place to fall—especially if you’ve come down with a good case of wanderlust.
There is comfort in knowing that even when you’re ready to travel again…
Even as the world navigates unprecedented times…
Even when the pandemic is behind us (but not forgotten)…
There will always be gardening.
Because as Dorothy knew, “There’s no place like home.”
Have you found a renewed love of gardening? Just learning? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Photo credits: Engin Akyurt, andreas160578, Harry Grout (Pixabay)
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