If At First You Kill Your Plants, Try, Try Again.

If you asked me to make a list of the “Top 10 Thoughts I Never Expected I Would Think”, it’s entirely likely it would contain the following:

“Do you know what would make this chicken better? If I just went out back to my herb garden, snipped a few sprigs, and whipped up a nice little sauce to enhance the flavors of this delightful meal!”

A few years ago, that would be the type of statement that would make me throw up a little in my mouth – not out of disgust, but out of major intimidation, slight jealousy and the ugly disappointment that comes along with the realization that I will never ever live up to the impossible standard that is the likes of the great Martha Stewarts, Giada De Laurentiis-es, and the Gwyneth Paltrows of the domestic-capabilities world.

Well, lo and behold.

I went out back to my herb garden.

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I snipped a few sprigs.

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And surprised myself greatly by (stumbling through the improvisation of a recipe I found online with vaguely the same-ish ingredients that I happened to have in my kitchen with some substitutions and) whipping up a little sauce to enhance the flavors of this delightful meal.

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I do believe in miracles.

If I can do it, goodness knows you can do it. A few tips:

  • Quit being afraid. Just stop it. Whatever it is you want to do – herb garden or otherwise –  shouldn’t cause you anxiety and shouldn’t make you feel inadequate.
  • If you’re not sure where to start, ask. How did I end up with a pot full of basil, tarragon, parsley, and rosemary? I went to Miner’s Hardware and found someone who knew what they were talking about. Then I flat out told them I had no idea what I was talking about. And then they helped me. Easy as that.
  • Furthermore, if you’re still not sure what to do, ask again. How did I know what to do once I got the little buggers planted and safely sitting in my backyard? I asked the most fabulous of my coworkers what she did with hers. She was a wealth of knowledge and inspiration, and she was happy to tell me.
  • Commit. I had a garden in the past, but I didn’t make it a priority. This time, I treat my little herbies like my (non-existent) children. Just because you didn’t succeed at something or weren’t confident in the past does not mean that this time, when you’ve given yourself the chance to grow and learn a bit, that you’re going to fail miserably and watch all your poor,  poor vegetables wither away and die like the sad, miserable guardian you’ve made yourself out to be. (Or wait, that was just me.) And guess what. If they should so happen to wither away and die, I have a nice little horticulturist at my local Miner’s who I can go to and ask what the hell I did wrong and try again. So take that and apply it to whatever it is you want to do.

So that’s what I have. If you were hoping for tips on how to plant an herb garden or how to make sauce for chicken, I don’t yet consider myself an expert in either of those areas. Maybe someday! I did learn, however, that all of that anxiety and jealousy and inadequacy that stems from seeing others do incredibly cool things is only the result of fear. You can do whatever project you want to do, really, and the best part is you don’t have to compare it to anyone else’s. So go out and do it.

Give Martha a run for her money.

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