13 June, 2012  |   11 Comments

Doing it over. Herb style.

My herb garden. Man. It’s a failure.

I am keeping alive two toddlers, a husband and a dog.
I’m barely keeping myself alive.

The springtime optimism that takes over my fingers and brain makes me believe that this year, surely I will grow my own herbs.


I need to do my herb garden over.
It’s terrible.
The pots are dried out, the leaves yellow, the stalks, desiccated.


I have tons of excuses.
A combination of travel, schedule and dry dry weather has undermined my low priority for gardening. Also, there are just so many other more fun things to do — other than watering plants.

And of course, this isn’t just about my herb garden.
The same thing is going on with work, with friends, with family.
Stuff’s withering, drying out, going unattended.
In short, I’m failing.


I fail a lot, you know. I’m good at failing.
I’m late, I flake, I overestimate my contribution, I underestimate the time it will take to complete a job. I fail.


And where I’ve failed with my herb garden, is yet one more opportunity for me to descend that spiral staircase of shame. My herb garden is yet one more effort I can’t get right. But some experience has shown me that when I take that sinking spirally feeling and bend it upward, I’m ready to try, try again. As a failing person, I learn a lot.


And so here’s my strategy for dealing with all of my failures, professional, personal or gardening related.

Forgive my best intentions

I’m not a rotten person because I wanted to feed my family fresh herbs this summer. Got that? My best intentions were there — I really, truly meant to. Just because I had some trouble keeping these plants alive doesn’t mean I’m an awful person.

It just might mean that I’m busy or tired.
Like you.
And that’s forgivable.

Learn my limitations

Time. Time, my teeth-grinding nemesis.

At this point in my life, time is not abundant for personal hobbies. That’s okay, it just means that when I plan my next herb garden, I pick one that can survive dry conditions, or those that grow quickly.


I have a copy of Container Gardening for dummies. I have Gayla Trail on the other end of the line. I have a plan of attack so this doesn’t happen again.

Start small

Nope, despite my will, I do not need to plan The Best And Most Complicated Herb Garden EVER. I just need to try with one or two plants. Maybe I could pot seedlings instead of seeds. Maybe I could enlist the kids to help me water. Better do-overs scale back.

Try, try again

All of this said, I have to try again. Herb garden do-over. I am getting ready to bounce back, learn from my failure and face the terrifying prospect of failure happening again.

Herb gardens.
They look so innocent.

Frigidaire made a dishwasher of longing that doesn’t make you do do-overs.
Heh. To prevent dishwasher do-overs, Frigidaire®’s Gallery® Dishwasher ensures dishes are cleaned right the first time. And that might save some time.


This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you share your own do-over moment at www.facebook.com/Frigidaire, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, Frigidaire® will help cover the costs for one lucky visitor to win the ultimate do-over.

healthy chives

11 thoughts on “Doing it over. Herb style.

  1. 1

    […] See the rest here: Doing my herb garden over again. | helenjane.com […]

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    I do this every year – start the salad garden and the herb garden. And so much of it ends up as brittle bits of dried twigs. Allow me to join you in the shaking off of the shame of failed intentions. Do overs for everyone!

  3. 3
    EMartin says:

    Herb gardens are deceptively tricky! Mine is a withering mess right now too. 🙁

  4. 4
    Helen Jane says:

    Also, thanks for forgiving the sponsored nature of the post, I’m figuring things out right now as it comes to this stuff. Feedback is appreciated.

  5. 5
    Meredith says:

    I spent the winter on a work project that filled me with gardening ideas, but come spring, I’ve got a different kind of project sprouting in me … so I bought a little $3 basil plant at Trader Joe’s, and pretended.

    And the sponsored nature of this post didn’t bother me; the content’s timely, it fits the sponsor’s campaign, and most important, it feels true to you.

  6. 6
    Kara F. says:

    I needed to hear that today Helen Jane! I am so great at planting all kinds of good, grand, self-less intentions, and not great at planting similar seeds of humility, forgiveness and closure when those seeds don’t sprout.

    My kids are enjoying our easier to keep alive zucchini plants – and that’s okay with me!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Carla S says:

    oh dear. you should see my attempt at an herb and vegetable garden. I’m not sure what’s a veggie and what’s a weed. And my cilantro was growing nicely and then I woke up and it was completely dried out. 🙁 I try.

  9. 9
    Kaye says:

    Omg it is not just me! That alone helps so much with the hurt.

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