How many times have we heard the Third Culture Kid experience associated with rootlessness? We know our transitory backgrounds can leave us with shallow roots, almost eager for pulling up and re-potting elsewhere. We can be adaptable plants with chameleon foliage, able to thrive in a variety of soils and with a variety of neighbour shrubs. Conversely, some of us have grown tired of exposed and fragile root growth and have instead sought out deep soil, from whence we now flatly refuse to budge.
Either way, this picture leaves us as plant rather than gardener. And I don’t know about you, but planting my own garden is my current preoccupation. I spent my developmental years visiting other people’s gardens, fitting in or sticking out depending on the changing social and physical landscape I dropped into. And that’s okay. I saw a lot. I learnt a lot. But I want more.
How would you fill your garden? Elements echoing from your past worlds? Bougainvillea, incense, and well-remembered adventure stories, deep-rooted and giving shade and comfort. Spring flowers of hope, daffodils and crocuses nodding away, those elements that may be transitory but nevertheless matter. Straight, orderly rows of vegetables that mirror the rhythms of life slowly honed over time, that offer substance and stability in your daily life. Honeysuckle for pure joy and lavender for the bees.
If you are so inclined, explore the meanings associated with plants and plant your own garden, either literally or metaphorically. Use software, cardstock and felt tips, Pinterest even! Plan additions, cultivate and prune where necessary. Make friends with the passage of time for gardeners need not rush; each season brings its own variety, activity and harvest.
What will your garden grow?