The Magic of Gardening


As a child, I didn’t value walking out into my backyard and entering a field overflowing with pretty much anything a child could want if it grew from a seed in the earth. My family planted a communal garden every spring. Back then, I had no idea it was called a communal anything. I simply knew all my aunties, uncles, and cousins would show up to clean and plant during April and May. When June rolled around, we all got to see the fruits of our labor. It didn’t matter if they lived on the land or in Atlanta, GA, everyone in my family had access to the fresh fruits and vegetables we’d planted earlier in the year.

I had no appreciation for the organic farm-to-table life I had as a child growing up in Lower Richland county. No idea of how fortunate I was to come from a gardening tradition where everyone could partake of the bounty as long as they were willing to work and maintain the land. I spent so many summer mornings following behind my Uncle Tuck with my little metal pale gathering weeds and fallen leaves; I thought everyone and their momma’s woke up at the crack of dawn to get an early start on the gardening. My cousins and I happily endured the early mornings because, at the end of our work, we received fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and whatever melons were ripe. Simple. Easy. Wholesome.

That’s what gardening means to me. Simple living. Easy joy. Wholesome values. I had no idea there was a day dedicated to gardening. I’m glad to know someone thought to set aside an entire day meant to inspire and encourage people to get out in their yards and plant their trust in beautiful black soil. To sow their seeds in plots of land and commit to nurturing them until they sprout and grow. Simple. Easy. Wholesome.

Of course, the history of National Gardening Day is based on capitalism but who cares if Cool Springs Press, publisher of best-selling gardening books, started this day to sell more books and make more money? What I’m choosing to take from April 14, 2021, is the simple, easy, wholesome joy of getting my hands dirty and committing my time and energy to love something into being.

The HEA (happily-ever-after; AKA husband) and I didn’t raise our children in a rural environment like both of us enjoyed–and took completely for granted–but we’ve worked to instill the simple, easy, and wholesome lessons our rural upbringing taught us. Many of those lessons were learned as we worked in our respective family gardens. Following behind the highly respected elders picking weeds, pulling pole beans, digging potatoes, or being yelled out for pussyfootin’ around when we should be workin’. 

I’ve done some container gardening here and there but this spring, I’m giving my green thumbs another try; returning to some of the other traditions I grew up with surrounding gardening. My grandmother was a wise woman. A kitchen witch. A woman who knew her way around herbs, flowers, plants, and a host of other aromatics to bring about balance within the body, mind, and soul. I didn’t realize just how wise she was to make my cousins and I drink pot-liquor before every winter. Or how she protected our home by using juniper needles to smudge the perimeter every three to six months. I just l liked the way the smoke left the house smelling and thought that’s why she did it so often. Simple. Easy. Wholesome.

The longer I live in the fast-paced world fueled by social media algorithms, fear and ignorance the more I understand the wisdom of my grandmother and her use of herbs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and trees. She understood the magical properties of nature’s bounty. The symbiotic relationship established between us and it… designed by a Universe to ensure the success and harmonious development of our world.

For this simple reason, celebrating National Gardening Day is an easy decision. I’ll be planting my hedge-witch garden, smudging my home with white sage and juniper needles, and eating a wholesome vegetarian meal with my family in honor of all the wise women and men who planted the seeds of simple living, easy joy, and wholesome values deeply in my soul. Many of them are no longer here on this physical plane, but I know they’re proud of the wise woman I’m becoming.

Remember, life is a journey, and just because you wander doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lost.  

How will you honor the wise women and men who came before you on national Gardening Day?


“We are all inextricably connected to our mother planet and to the food she gives us, but many of us have forgotten that the connection is a sacred one. When we remember, then food may become the key to sacred experience. Our bodies will open the door and show us the way through.”

-Cait Johnson


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Ella Shawn
Ella Shawn is a contemporary women's fiction writer with a fondness for complex characters and happily-ever-afters. She also produces a podcast aptly named, Enchanted BEAST Podcast where she elevates, encourages, and empowers women to connect with their higher self and live the enchanted lifestyle they deserve to live. And because she's a mommy of three beautiful daughters, she writes for a mommy blog once a month. If she's not writing, podcasting, or blogging; then you can probably find her sitting in her favorite chair with a ball of yarn, her wooden crochet hooks making something bohemian-inspired for her Etsy shop, Browns-n-Barnacles PCD. Ella married the boy she fell in love with during her senior year of high school. They started dating in 1992 and either they both were too lazy to look for other options or were lucky enough to find their happily-ever-after at the age of seventeen. Ella says it the enduring love she shares with her husband that allows her to write romance novels with hard-won HEAs. After developing systemic lupus erythematosus and narcolepsy w/cataplexy, she and her husband decided it was time for her to come home and learn how to live as healthy as possible with the new reality their family was now facing. It turned out to be a blessing, because a few years later, her youngest daughter developed two of the rarest neurological sleeping disorders in the world (Klein Levins Syndrome- a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty Disease and Sighted Non-24). Not only is Vickey able to be at home with her daughter while she attends South Carolina Virtual Charter School and when she goes into KLS episodes, she is also free to pursue her passion as a romance writer, podcaster, and blogger under the pen name; Ella Shawn. Her enchanted platform is an extension of her philosophy of living, loving, and evolving. She writes to gain understanding of the hard choices women often have to make. She endeavors to create enchanted spaces in which to disrobe and see the whole of who she is, and who she isn’t. Vickey shares her journey of self-discovery through writing romance novels, on her podcast, and in her blog. She loves connecting with women who enjoy seeing glimpses of their truth wrapped in sexy happily-ever-after’s. Vickey uses her platform to encourage women to reconnect with their true and essential selves. To cultivate and nurture spaces where they cease being simply women of flesh and bone and become Enchanted Beasts. When she’s not being Ella Shawn, or learning coach, or caregiver, or being taken care of… You may find her painting, crocheting, meditating, or sweating it out in a hot yoga class. But she’s a wild and free spirit who would be just as happy living in a converted van and tooling around the country—sleeping where she runs out of gas. Landing wherever she lands and meeting whoever she meets. However; she’s pretty sure her husband and children wouldn’t be willing to pack up and hit the road with her and, anyway—where would all the piggies go? So, she indulges her nomadic, bohemian spirit with planned travel, mother-cation weekends, and her ever-growing imagination.


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