Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 3: Making It Pretty!

My husband is mostly function and not fashion, but when it comes to the home, we both agree that a well-kept space makes everything comfortable and pleasant to look at―in other words, it reduces our stress and makes us want to invest a little effort.

I had neglected my terracotta pots after the mass die-off of my previous herbal garden. I used to have a massive Cuban oregano plant that one of my old co-workers gave me before I moved out of New York. She used to be part of a neighborhood garden association, and she gave me many herbs over the years. I named the plant Cecelia after her, and I cooked with her leaves for 4 to 5 years until a bad case of root rot (or, at least, that’s what I think it was) took her. I was devastated.

Terra cotta pots after emptying and cleaning them out.

I emptied all of my old pots and set them in the bathtub to soak in bleached water overnight. Afterwards, I scrubbed off the debris and dirt, rinsed them, and let them air dry for another day. I couldn’t wait for my next day off so that I could paint them.

My attempt to garden is being fueled by the Coronavirus pandemic, just like everyone else. The only difference is that I’m deemed an essential worker, so after a day at work wearing a cloth mask for hours, I look forward to my days off way more than I used to and I have to make time for the additional work. I spent part of my next day off painting my pots after a stressful week.

Newly painted terra cotta pots.

I need to paint more often; it used to be one of my favorite outlets. If there’s one thing I’m learning (and probably you too) from being an essential worker (or perhaps a quarantined worker, or maybe a worker who has lost their job or been furloughed), it’s that we all need a new sense of purpose and healthier outlets. My job takes over everything else I used to love doing. And doing something as simple as painting my flower pots gave me back some composure and sanity.

To add to the new vision of beauty for our house, my dad built me a raised garden bed! After he makes some finishing touches such as lining it, oiling it, and staining it, my husband or I can pick it up from his house and use it to plant the vegetables.

Garden bed in progress.

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