Beginner gardening workshop Saturday at PLAS

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2022

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Those who are self-proclaimed “plant killers” are invited and encourage to participate in a Beginner Gardening Workshop on Saturday at the Pike Liberal Arts School cafeteria from 9 until 11:30 a.m.

“The workshop is a turning point for us – the plant killers – to ask a friend who knows a bit more to mentor us to grow in amazing ways together,” said Kitty Amanda Smothers, originator of the Dead Plant Society.  “It’s about community and connections and families and friends.”

Smothers said there’s a growing desire to get back to “our roots – our earliest beginnings” where we grew our own food. Being in a farm rich region, many of us have stories of helping in Grandma’s garden, but sadly, there had been a disconnect in recent generations as many of us left our gardens to start working in the corporate world.”

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When COVID-19 hit, Smothers said the world seemed to freeze in place and multitudes of people became quarantined at their homes.

“As our eyes turned to our homes and our hearts focused more intently on the health of our families, the importance of home as a sanctuary and health as a beautiful gift were more evident,” she said. “People turned to gardening to experience freedom as lockdowns and concerns related to job loss, exposure and masking started to grow ever more stifling.  Food shortages make the matter even more pressing.  Gardening relieves stress.  Watching things grow creates excitement and a sweet distraction to the chaos all over the world.  Flowers are happy.  Flowers are hopeful.  Growing food is healthy.  It feels good and benefits emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and environmental health.  Planting things is something we can do with our own hands to improve the world all around us.”

Smothers’ gardening story began when her husband, John, was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in March 2021.

“Gardening became a way to cope, to focus on something that was all about life, not cancer, not death,” she said.  John first had surgery and then six months of chemotherapy, which meant our spring and summer were going to be spent with him mostly in bed.”

Smothers was faced with a choice. She could sit there and worry or she could do something productive.

“So I dug two enormous flower beds in front of my house,” she said. “We built the house 12 years ago a didn’t have a single plant in the yard.  I didn’t know what I was doing but I kept studying, watching YouTube tutorials, and moving forward, digging and praying that God would heal my husband.”  The flower beds ended up being beautiful . . . for a while, until I drowned all my lavender in the red, clay due to overwatering and poor drainage.  I had to rip it all out and start over. I learned so much about flowers last year and this year I have started my first vegetable garden.  It’s so exciting to watch the daily changes that happen to flowers and plants.”

John was declared cancer free in November.  And I’m still in the garden, talking to God.  Being grateful. It is a special place to spend time with the Creator.”

start with the basics and end the workshop with free seeds, plants and garden goods.  No registration is required; just show up ready to learn and bring a friend!