March 24, 2012
Confession: my garden never looks as perfect as my blog photos suggest. When I aim my camera, I overlook the chard leaves eaten by snails or the spotty showing in my spinach row. I rely on camera angles and light to enhance the image or edit out the disappointments. Last Monday’s post on purple sprouting broccoli showed only one plant not the whole overgrown bed. I suspect I am not alone. We all have these flawed, less-than-perfect areas of our gardens. Most of us don’t have the time, resources or know-how to make and keep them perfect. And besides, “things happen."
is a website hosted by Caitlin Crosby, a friend of my son, Tim. It is "a place to share all of your amazing unique flaws.” Her mission is “to help all of us learn to love and embrace them. Imperfect is the new perfect.”
So what does this have to do with vegetable gardens and blogs? That’s the question I began asking myself. When I looked at my winter vegetable garden, I saw plenty of flaws to embrace. Disappointments, failures occupied space right next to the “successes” I have plucked with my camera. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing our gardens with images from magazines, other blogs or groomed public and private gardens where a small army of hirelings keeps them looking perfect.
But something vital goes missing when we look only for “perfect.” Next time you look at your garden, consider the whole. Notice how you’ve made the best of a difficult site or inhospitable soil. Delight in the old seeds that germinated. Recall the vegetables that may have looked funny but tasted wonderful when you cooked them for the ones you love. Revel in the bounty you’ve shared with others.
Look for those moments of unplanned perfection when the chard is backlit by the sun and the snail holes don’t show. Pause for a moment and take in the first head of broccoli or the volunteer viola peeking out from under the beet greens. Notice the dew on the red cabbage. Take pictures of these or lower the camera and drink them in.
Let feelings of contentment and thankfulness settle into your soul. Imperfect is the new perfect.