The Pea Perspective

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

Picking peas taught me a valuable lesson; usually a fresh perspective will result in finding a pea.  Often, I stand at the bush searching this way and that for peas to no avail, but then I walk to the other side of the plant.  Immediately I spot a dangling pea pod right where I was so diligently searching just a moment before, and I feel the momentum to continue pea hunting.

Gardening is a constant experiment that may either result in success or failure.  In the Spring, momentum is high as new life buds and blossoms all around.  The days are cool.  It’s easy to work outside, and after a winter of dirt free fingernails, the anticipation to turn the soil overwhelms the spirit.  Sometimes though, after a few years, or when the weather turns hot, it is easy to loose momentum and inspiration.

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

When this happens, I find that by changing my perspective and visiting fellow gardeners and other gardens inspires me to try new things.  By physically visiting other gardeners and gardens- not just perusing pictures online or reading gardening blogs in the comforts of air conditioning (though I do appreciate your reading mine!)- I feel renewed, which gives me momentum to push onward.  I often find a new perspective.

A thing that I find important is acknowledgement and commendation.  When I pick flowers for medicinal purposes or for a bouquet, I thank the plant for its gift.  I chat with the plant, “You’re flowers are very beautiful.  Thank you for such lovely flowers.  I’m going to clip them.  Your flowers will (give the flower purpose).  Thank you so much.”  When I pick the peas, I may say to the plant,”You have made so many peas this year.  Thank you so much.  You are so amazing.  Thank you.”  Over and over and over, I talk to the plants acknowledging and commending them.  If the plant is not producing or having a tough time, I touch it softly and ask, “What is wrong?  What can I do to help you?”  Gardening reflects life.

It’s important to give thanks and acknowledgement to those who inspire, support in times of need, or who advocate on your behalf.  Inspiration, support, and advocacy are like the fruits of the plant.  You could look at the plant and say, “Well, I did the work,” and simply take all the credit for the harvest.  Though you prepare the soil, plant the seed, and nourish the plant till fruition, the plant rewards you with a gift.  I am thankful for this.  It’s a cyclical process of giving and receiving.

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

I am grateful for the gardeners in my life.  As an act of thanks, through out this summer and fall as I highlight aspects of my gardens, I look forward to honoring the gardener who inspired or taught me.  I plan to visit many other gardens that I have seen pop-up around town and find the inspiration behind those gardens as well.  I have highlighted and advocated for gardens in the past, I choose to  change my perspective.  Though advocating for others is not my cause anymore, I can honor those folks who guide, inspire, teach, and advocate for others.  Very rarely do we truly accomplish anything alone.  It’s time to walk around the pea bush and look through it to acknowledge and commend those who often go unnoticed like the pea.


About Tracie L. Hellwinckel

Hi! I'm Tracie L. Hellwinckel creator of The Agrarian Urbanite. My experience in gardening education began 2000 as a Peace Corps volunteer. Since then, I've served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Beardsley Community Farm and Habitat Urban Gardens. I sold plants at the local farmer's markets but discovered that when customers asked me questions about gardening, it was the teaching techniques and sharing of information that inspired me. Gardening Education combines my formal education (Masters Degree from the University of Tennessee in Elementary Education) and my passions, which are growing food and design. I can be reached at
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