You’re Judging Everything

Sophie Lucido Johnson
6 min readAug 20, 2023

Here’s What Happens When You Stop. (You Can Start Stopping With A Garden.)

There is a certain way that men my age garden. I’m not sure that this is a universal rule, but I’ve noticed it in, like, seven men. And since I tend to exaggerate numbers (and know very few actual men, if we’re being honest), you should know that that number is factually four.

The way this type of man gardens is meticulously. He plants things you can eat, and beautiful flowers you can cut and put in vases. He gets the right soil, he knows about weeds, he laments about rabbits and he builds little wire tents to go around the plants so the rabbits won’t get the things the rabbits want. I’m sure this isn’t gender-specific — indeed, I’ve known tons of women who also plant stuff like it’s an Olympic sport, and bring over fat carrots and hole-free chard (how?!) and even strawberries. I know I’m writing this like I have judgement towards these people, or like there’s something somehow wrong with being good at gardening, but I swear, that’s not my point at all. It’s just that good at gardening isn’t a thing I think I’ll ever be.

I wish I was better at gardening, but I’m not, and I have to talk to the Garden Flex men sometimes. What do I say to them? It’s a thing I happenstanced upon, and not a thing for which I can really take credit.

There was place in our yard that needed serious TLC following a few foolhearty years I spent letting our chickens free range (read: eat and kill everything), and a catalogue convinced me to sow some native plant seeds. The birds ate 50 percent of the seeds, and the other 50 percent grew modestly, and turned over lovely yellow flowers.

Now, the native plants blogs swore that the plants — which, remember, came from meager little seeds — would come back stronger year after year, but this seemed actually impossible. I laughed at the promise of stronger flowers that had grown from seeds, and moved on.

Yet come back stronger they did. It was like watching a delightfully garish sequel. I didn’t do anything: beginning in February, they started…