Last week, I got one of the best Christmas presents I could have asked for. I had lunch with three of my longest-running gardening friends. We spent three hours playing catch-up with one another, laughing hysterically and probably driving the waiter nuts with our complete lack of focus.
I spent 10 years working with these women nearly everyday. Together we were professional gardeners—weeding, planting and watering other people’s gardens all day long. We had a lot of time to talk, getting to know about one another with dirty hands and smiling faces. They have become three of my most cherished friends and they make me laugh like no other group of women ever has. We each have a completely different background and life, yet when we come together, it’s so simple and uncomplicated. That, to me, is what being with good friends is all about.
First, we talk about our families and old clients, then the conversation inevitably turns to gardening. One friend was pregnant when I met her, and her son is now nearly 14 years old. Her garden has grown side-by-side with her son. The other friend’s boy was 12 when we met and is now a first-year law student; her daughter a sophomore in college. She still gardens professionally, though her client list has been pared down considerably. And the youngest of us now owns an organic farm about an hour away. When we met she lived in the city and farmed on a quarter acre. Now she has 35 acres, a green house and several high tunnels, with a processing facility in the works. She’s living her dream with passion and love, and I admire her so very much.
It’s amazing to see how our lives have changed over the years, but none of us have strayed far from the world of gardening, either as a volunteer or a job. I don’t suspect we ever will. I think it’s in our bones. Just like a good friend.