Editor's Notebook


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The Wisdom of Those Who Garden

On our first warm day last spring, I visited a nursery near my home in Kansas City, Mo. Lured by green, growing things, I loaded a few baby herbs and adolescent tomatoes in my wagon. But nowhere did I see my beloved Genovese basil. Without it, my summer would not be complete.

I approached a woman in a nursery apron and asked where I could find basil. She looked at me with knowing compassion, the way one friend looks at another who's about to go out with the wrong kind of man.

Placing her hand on my arm, she said, 'You don't want to do this yet. It's too early.' I looked back at her, my eyes gently pleading. She smiled kindly and shook her head. 'You'll just make yourself miserable,' she said. 'Come back in a couple of weeks.'

I yielded and planted only the hardier herbs that afternoon. When the weather turned nasty, I was grateful the nursery owner had talked me out of a mistake.

This is true customer service. I easily could have taken my business someplace where my impatience would have been indulged. Her manner was not only knowing, but wise and reassuring. The part of me that knew better than to jump the gun was forced to slow down and listen to her counsel.

I love this aspect of community, when wisdom and experience speak, and we are trusting enough to listen. Wisdom comes from heeding each other, allowing ourselves to be nourished and supported by those who know something we don't (or are trying to ignore).

I especially love the community of those who love the soil and who celebrate its fruits. Richness enters our lives when we learn to match our rhythms to the Earth's, to study the dirt where we are planted, to ask what it needs, then to offer it our gratitude and care in appreciation of its gifts. If every person could just once plant even a tiny garden and know the miracles that arise from seeds in soil, environmental problems would shrink and the human race would blossom. We grow best in gardens, just like basil, just like beans.

You'll find much in this issue of CAPPER'S to support your gardening ventures. We hope you'll write and let us know what your garden means to you.

Kathryn Compton, Editor