I’m Baaaaack

Hi friends. I feel like I need to reintroduce myself. It has been a while since I’ve made an appearance here in Blogland. I think I got burned out a bit by writing, especially writing for money and publication. And well, let’s just be honest, the last year (or past several) has been beyond exhausting and stressful. Some of us more sensitive folks (HSP) weather the storms a little differently and things affect us in different ways. So, I just graciously bowed out of pretty much everything, with the exception of gardening, playing outside, hiking, doing lots of yoga, reading, and self-care. AND I don’t regret it one bit!

Me practicing self care in May.

I also did a lot of cleaning out and decluttering. This house has over forty years of family artifacts and relics tucked in closets, the attic, crawl space, garage, hutches, drawers, shelves, basically EVERYWHERE. Stuff everywhere. But mostly, I gave myself permission to stop and rest. These fallow periods are necessary to gain some balance and create harmony in my life. And now I’m ready to restart.

Gomphrena pulchella

The Restart
I’m launching a new consulting business doing the thing I most love to do: garden. I’ve gardened in North Carolina for over thirty years. For nearly fourteen of those years, my profession was a gardener on a private historic estate. Gardening has brought me so much joy and serenity, and has provided me with endless opportunities for discovery, play, and adventure. My garden is my playground and laboratory! I want to encourage others to find joy, relaxation, and a sense of connection in their gardens. Connection to themselves, to each other, to their communities and ecosystems, and to the earth. As the Sengelese conservationist and forestry engineer Baba Dioum said: “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” I want to teach what I’ve learned by keeping step with nature’s rhythms through gardening.

There are so many benefits of gardening: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Spending time in nature heals our bodies, revives our spirits, keeps us active, and also increases memory and cognition. Research shows that just looking out a window with a garden view can reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. I also believe working with plants is one of the best ways to find calm in these too-busy and socially-disconnected days. I hope to help folks get back in tune with seasonal rhythms, become more aware of what is happening right in front of them, and to stop merely living by what the pages of a calendar show.

And of course, climate change is changing the length of the “traditional” seasons. Summers are much longer here in the North Carolina piedmont, at least for the practicalities involving gardening. The best way I know of slowing climate change is to get more people interested in what is at stake if we keep plugging on business as usual. (See Dioum quote above:)) Get outside and grow!

So that’s what I’m up to. Friends have asked if I will continue writing. Yes, of course! The British writer and Gardeners’ World host Monty Don says he sees himself as a writer that gardens. I see myself as a gardener that writes. I hope to begin to blog here more regularly. I will also be writing more at my new business website. I hope you’ll stay tuned for upcoming details and follow me there, too.

Lobelia cardinalis

It’s good to be back! I missed you guys! Thanks for not giving up on me:) I have continued to read your words, even if I stayed silent in the background.


27 thoughts on “I’m Baaaaack

  1. Welcome back, Cheryl – you beat me back! Your lying ‘fallow’ phase sounds recuperative and nurturing, just like those that happen in nature. I’ve been fallow too, with family worries mostly. But also recluttering, looking after the garden, painting and writing, not as much social media. Stretched out summer here, now I’m wishing for autumn days and a house moving date for my sister. Things have felt too stagnant in the last few weeks. Great idea for garden consulting – your knowledge is vast as well as your caring and appreciation. Finally, love that you’ve found Monty Don – he is lovely man who uses gardening as therapy, and gardening IS therapy. Best wishes to you.

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  2. Welcome back, Cheryl! It is good to see you back, and sunning yourself on those rocks, too. Congratulations on your rest and embarking on a new business journey in gardening. I wish you all the best of luck – I’m sure you’ll do great. Cheers!
    Jeanne

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  3. I love that – a gardener who writes instead of a writer who gardens. A wonderful way to flip life on its ear, approaching from a different gateway. I look forward to see how it changes your perspective, and your writing. –Nancy

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  4. It’s so cool that you’re making a business out of your passion. Maybe I could do something like that for my writing (but more of consulting than actual writing, which is the status quo). Thanks for sharing!

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  5. What fabulous news!!! I’m so excited for you about the gardening because I know how much you love it–and because it’s such a supportive sustaining endeavor, and we all know writing is not always that hahaha. But also glad to hear you had a good rest and that you are still writing. All good things to hear and good things ahead.

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    1. Thank you so much for that, Luanne! Gardening is so beneficial and a lot of nurturing is involved. And hard work. There are times when writing flows like gardening, but I just needed a breather. You know I’ll always do both, if possible:)

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    1. Yes, Donna!! That’s definitely a motivation here. So many more people have been out walking in the neighborhood recently. I love hearing how much cheer and joy my little front yard garden borders bring to passersby. More beauty–yes. Thank you so much.

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  6. Yay! I’m glad you’re back, but I’m also glad you took time away for self-care! It’s wonderful that you are channeling all your garden wisdom and experience into this new endeavor.

    Your gomprhena and lobelia look so lush and beautiful. Do you have a lot of mature trees on your property?

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I’m really excited to get back to this thing I really enjoy and love. And the teaching part, too. I loved workshops and tours–especially tours. We have a lot of mature oaks, maples, hickories, tulip poplars, and pines on this small less than half-acre property.

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