I think it probably started on a night Tidepool stroll with my mom and dad when I was about 5. Excited to be out at night, clutching a plastic flashlight affixed with red cellophane, I felt like the life in the tide pools was infinite. And then I saw an octopus slithering over the rocks, undeterred by our muted red light, and I was hooked. Years and years and years and years of education- usually executed in the solemn halls of the library while my friends were off reveling- and viola, I was a marine biologist. My heart has always been in protecting our natural environment, and one of the big ways in which we impact the ocean realm is through fishing. Thus, I have dedicated my time in pursuit of fisheries science, with the hope that in some small way I am able to positively impact the denizens of our oceans and streams. I could easily write a separate blog about the myriad issues, big and small, surrounding these aquatic creatures and their imperiled status, but instead, I found gardening. There is something magical to watching things grow, and given my background- decidedly devoid of plant science as it were- it is full of surprises. At the moment, I am sitting in a field house in Central California, where I am living with other fisheries scientists for the next month, studying salmon. It is by being away from my little garden and home along the coast that I am reminded of how grateful I am to have found gardening. I currently get one day off a week, and each time I return home, I am absolutely floored by the amount of growth occurring in my wake.
This last week, I came home to find blooming red clover! Planted almost 6 months ago, as part cover crop, and more importantly as a tea mix for a good friend of mine recovering from cancer. At first I was apprehensive to put clover, which I spend most of my time trying to remove from the garden, purposely INTO the garden! It quickly took over, creating a hedge so reminiscent of weeds, it took everything in me not to rip it out… but lo and behold, it sprung forth while I was away (probably because it was relaxed enough, knowing I wouldn’t try to rip it from the ground 🙂 with beautiful crimson blossoms. I haven’t made any red clover tea previously, but I have heard it is filled with sweet goodness! I wish I could start harvesting as we speak, but instead I am off to work….. 🙂