August 11, 2019
What I’ve Learned From Hiking and Gardening
Bridge leading into a trailSource: Hiking is Good For the Soul | Penelope Peru Photography
Hiking and gardening are two hobbies of mine that are separate, but deeply intertwined. The way soil slides through the spaces between my fingers, the pride I feel when the first blooms on a new plant appears, and the joy to be had hiking through the woods on a cool, summer afternoon has given me a newfound appreciation for all life on our planet.
A Bit of Context…
For those of you who may not already be aware, this lil’ bug loves to be out in nature. When I’m not glued to my computer screen or carousing the aisles of a bookstore, I’m reading in parks, snapping photos in the woods, and tending to my plants.
When I Started Gardening
The story behind my green thumb isn’t one of convention. See, I’d spent a good chunk of adolescence dedicating my life to my town in Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” for the 3DS.
A tour through my town in “Animal Crossing: New Leaf”Source: The Burgundy Zine
I poured hours into breeding hybrid flowers for my own town before eventually moving to video game forums and exchanging my pansies and gold roses alike for in-game currency.
Needless to say, as a homeschooler with a lot of time on her hands, I made the Animal Crossing equivalent of making bank, hahaha.
After awhile, I found myself wondering why I wasn’t doing this in real life. I realized that all the time I spent tending to my digital garden could instead be devoted to breeding flowers in my kitchen window.
I started with a dark purple African Violet in May 2015 (which is still alive and well, by the way). By that July, I had over a dozen African Violets and played Edward Scissorhands with an X-Acto Knife, propagating their leaves.
I also dabbled in hybridizing my African Violets, splitting open their anthers and brushing the pollen onto the other flower’s stigma. While I was never successful in cultivating their seeds, I did get a few of their ovaries to swell.
Eventually, I’d grow my collection to include a variety of succulents, house plants, and my personal favorite: citrus trees, as well.
A variety of citrus trees, grown from seedSource: A Glimpse Into the Garden | Penelope Peru Photography
At one point in 2016, I had over 100 plants. As it currently stands, I have about 80, give or take a few – and I’ll be the first to admit my collection needs some tending to, despite cleaning out all of my garden windows just over a month ago!
My garden windowsSource: A Glimpse Into the Garden | Penelope Peru Photography
When I Started Hiking
I was never one to venture into the woods as a child. Perhaps you could blame it on suburbia, but I had always thought hiking was something you really only saw in movies or the vlogs YouTubers while I was growing up.
After marathoning it through as many national and state parks as possible during my trip to central Ore to see the Total Solar Eclipse in 2017, I came home craving more.
That fall, I began exploring local parks and hiking trails throughout neighboring towns. My love for the outdoors was further fueled by the little trail through the patch of woods on my college’s campus.
Throughout 2018, XtaSeay and I continued to go on local hikes together. Some of my favorite memories of us live on eternally in the photos and footage we took while wandering around hand-in-hand down nature trails.
The adventures of XtaSeay and Burgundy Bug while hikingSources: 3.19 // Previews, Happy Holidaze, and The End of May | Penelope Peru Photography
Although I don’t always get the chance to go hiking as often as I’d like to, the long periods of time between each adventure makes them all the more worthwhile.
What I’ve Learned From Hiking and Gardening
Both hiking and gardening have given me a newfound appreciation for life on Earth. To watch something sprout, grow sturdy, and blossom in an array of beautiful hues, all while knowing you had a hand in making the outcome possible, is one of the most rewarding feelings imaginable.
Gardening and hiking have also taught me more about responsibility. With gardening, you have to care for the plant in order for it to thrive. It’s depending on you for nutrients from the soil you plant it in and the amount of sun it gets from the window you’ve made into its home. It depends on you for water, pruning, and as outlandish as it may sound, a good amount of love.
With hiking, you have to be responsible for yourself and whoever you’ve invited to go with you. You have to keep an eye out for uneven terrain, wild animals, poison ivy, ticks, and other hazards. It takes a healthy amount of caution to navigate the wilderness unscathed.
Nevertheless, my heart sings when I’m surrounded by nothing but trees, leaves, and flowers. My soul dances in synchrony with the whish and whirl of waterfalls, babbling brooks, and creeks.
Gardening and hiking are enriching hobbies that are good for our planet and give your eyes a rest from the screen. What are you waiting for? Pick up a shovel and get diggin’ – or lace up your hiking books and get explorin’!
Want to get into gardening but don’t know where to start? Why not checkout some of our gardening guides!
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