How Does Your Garden Grow?

As a contributor to Womenz Straight Talk Magazine, I was recently asked to do a piece on gardening. And as a digging-in-the-dirt girl, I wanted to share a concept that has lived in my heart for a long time. After all, Straight Talk is just that. More than tutorial or instructional, it’s a place to share information, creativity, ideals, and feelings in a forum of trust and nurturing. Gardening brings me close to God and helps to clear my mind of the veritable cacophony swirling daily through my entire being, and in the process, the clarity yields a peace within, fusing strength and resolve into my soul which helps me to be the best I can be as a human.

Our relationships with flowers and outdoor vegetation can be complex and varied, some of us entrenched in the daily nurturing and tending required to coax glorious blossoms from seedlings which is a thrill to experience.

Then there’s the downside. The frustrating devastation of blight and disease, the ruination of plants consumed by garden vermin, accompanied by screaming vows never to dig in the dirt again. Some of us keep plugging on, committed to the earth’s promise of reward for our sweat and determination as we try to figure out the safest way to combat the enemy. Some of us give up. How many relationships do we sweat out in life?

For me, gardening evokes comparisons to humanity, our sensibilities prejudiced towards our favorite perennials and annuals, our memories tied to scents that take us back to special occasions, our willingness to oblige garden order or nurturing healthy connections to people or not, a choice. Communication with the soil is a delicate dance of give and take, feeding, and cutting back or deadheading to reveal purpose and balance in artful alliance with plants and flowers. The skill to maintain stable liaisons in life with others is often a challenge as well, fraught with the unpredictable, as with gardening, the unforeseen can wreck irreparable damage.

Then there’s the lingering love-hate relationships fostered by efforts that either succeed or sometimes fail, much like relationships with our human counterparts. When a plant or shrub succumbs in my garden, at first, I tend to blame them for not being strong enough to survive. At times, it makes me so upset, I can’t stand it because it costs money to bring them to my flower beds. How dare they die? And then, I have to look at myself and do an analysis to figure out what went wrong and how could I have been a better nurturer to that plant that I chose to have a relationship with? It’s easiest to play the blame game. Do we continue in relationships doomed to failure or do we cut them away to salvage ourselves from toxicity that can weaken and derail us?

The countless varieties of garden specimens available for inclusion in various global planting zones and gardens can be compared to the vast number of cultural identities throughout the world, many unheralded ethnicities struggling for a voice or prominent placement in a tableau that all but ignores them because of pessimism and ignorance. Why take a chance on the unknown when the familiar brings such satisfaction? Planting something I know nothing about is both scary and exciting at the same time for me. Opening up to new ideologies and cultural exchange can feel the same. Do we reach out to learn what we can about those outside our inner circle or do we strive to embrace diversity, unveiling the unknown to reveal something new and exciting?

The garden is a perfect metaphor for life. It brings me to my knees in earnest as I implore the earth to reward me with a bountiful harvest. Alas, nothing is perfect in our imperfect world, neither when it comes to gardening or our own humanity. When given the choice, do we nurture or not, do we walk away, or do we stay the course? Do we challenge ourselves or do we remain complacent? Do we reach out to other humans in an exchange of goodwill, or do we distance ourselves in fear of the unknown? I’ll never be perfect but for me, the answer is one life, one chance to be the change. And if you’re not a gardener, maybe a houseplant can be a source of renewed connection to life and the world around you.


Denise Pereau
Denise Pereau
During a fifty-year career in the field of Cosmetology, Denise Pereau achieved National and International acclaim as a Stylist and Make-up Artist, Salon Owner, Session Artist for Hearst Publications, and Beauty Industry Educator, working in NY, Paris, and twice at the White House. As a businesswoman, her charitable efforts included the support of a number of entities including the American Cancer Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, The Aids Foundation, the Cooper Foundation, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, and The Solace House. Pereau is credited for aligning salons with the bridal industry, fueling a major paradigm shift in countless salon business models by catering to the needs of bridal parties. Her foray into multi-media began as Co-Host on the popular cable TV show, Let’s Talk About It with Trudy Haynes in the ’90s, Philadelphia’s first female African American Broadcast Journalist on KYWTV Channel 3. Pereau honed her writing talent as a freelance Copywriter for the Star Group in Cherry Hill, NJ (Closed) developing copy on projects including Common Threads founded by Oprah Winfrey’s former Chef Art Smith. Her love for cooking and baking led her to a stint as a demonstrator for 360 Cookware by Americraft and a cookware presentation to Martha Stewart’s Food Editors in Manhattan. Referring to herself as a Renaissance Woman, Denise is also an avid gardener citing the fact that digging in the dirt keeps her close to God while keeping her fit. Currently, Pereau serves as a Board member of NAWBO SJ, a national organization for businesswomen. She is also a Contributor to Womenz Straight Talk Magazine and Host for the In-Focus interview series produced by Cassandra Tindal, featured on WOM Media’s Womenz Straight Talk TV, bringing attention to social issues affecting our global communities.

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  1. A place of tranquility, contemplation, relaxation, the garden, with its wealth of metaphors, is able to facilitate the descent into ourselves and the opening towards our most authentic nature.
    Nature teaches us about life…it teaches us to take care of ourselves, to let it flourish, to eradicate what is no longer needed. Nature teaches us that life has very strong seeds which, if left to blossom according to their times and ways, are able to face storms and thunderstorms waiting for new suns. Nature teaches us that everything that exists has a strong seed within it that just simply wants to be and exist.

    You are welcome. I find the Biz360 community so welcoming and supportive. Have a great day.