A Green Thumb and an Even Greener Heart

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A Green Thumb and an Even Greener Heart

By Paula Deen

The spring season and new beginnings go hand-in-hand. Without even thinking about it, I find myself back in my garden, planting to my heart’s content. It’s not something I even put on my To-Do list; it’s just that one morning I wake up, go outside and start working. It’s in our nature to have a hand in the cycle of life, I suppose—to plant, grow and eventually harvest. But part of it might have something to do with the recent birth of my beautiful grandson, Matthew James. Him coming into this world happy and healthy is nothing short of a miracle. I hear some women say that the more grandchildren they have, the older they feel. Not me. Ever since I held Matthew in my arms and kissed the top of his sweet head, I’ve felt younger than I have in years.

So I’m tending to my garden. And y’all, it’s just the most beautiful place. I don’t go out and buy all new stuff; I like to use what I have on hand. I spread chicken manure from the coop and I reuse the same terra cotta pots every year to get my herbs started. Once they take, I’ll transplant them to my herb garden and start snippin’ some of those fragrant greens for every meal I make. Sometimes I like to pull off a twig of rosemary and just carry it around my garden with me, smelling it as I walk between my raised beds and count the tomatoes and peppers just starting to appear. Soon those little vines will be weighted down, giving me a ton of fruits and vegetables for canning.

It’s true that I’m blessed to have the resources for a big, beautiful garden, but everyone should have a little garden to tend to, ‘cause like children, there’s nothing like watching the fruits of your labor grow and bloom. That’s why I’m sharing with y’all how to go about doing some container gardening. It doesn’t matter where you live; as long as you have a little fresh air and sunlight, you can enjoy a garden. I can remember livin’ in the dinkiest little place with the boys. We might not have had much, but we had some potted herbs on our windowsill to transform our dinners into somethin’ special.

It is, after all, the little things in life that matter. From new babies to the first tomato on the vine—this world just never seems to stop givin’. And it would be downright rude to refuse the offer.

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Reader Comments:


I'm glad I found this. Love you Paula, keep on going!

By laura on April 13, 2014


I am very happy to have found this site. Thank you for being who you are. Keep up your good works.

By kahikinalcain on December 21, 2013


Great post. Love you Paula and your cooking. Ana

By Ana on June 22, 2011


Love my garden, it is not much just a few plants in pots,but i love to watch it grow. Don,t have grands yet but looking forward to that!!!! Love to watch your show.!!!!!

By Donna Austin on June 19, 2011


Your so right on Paula...I love to garden and so does my husband and between the two of us we have 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and Ronnie isn't there yet but I have 6 great grandchildren and one on the way...The Good Lord has blessed me in soooo many ways...Good luck with your family and kiss those little fingers and toes as much as you can...wink

By Betty Smith on June 09, 2011


Paula, I love reading anything you write! There is a picture of you on a tag hanging from my Paula Deen candle. My two year old son picked it up last night, kissed the picture and said, "I love her mommy." I laughed so hard and said, "I love her too son!"

By Candace Allison on June 02, 2011


this is my first try at a garden so im doing a container garden.. among the plants is one large bucket with 2 tomato plants. i have tended and nurtured them the best of my ability and knowledge. i call them my babies. then when i first discovered tiny little tomatoes on there, i ran inside claiming "im a granma! my babies have babies!" Ha ha.. i understand the joy and pride in growing something in the earth, it is a joy just like raising my own boys. now im planning for next year already, just might go a bit bigger than a large bucket.

By Donna S on May 30, 2011


Dear Paula I LOVE gardening and Rosemary too! Hope you garden grew very well! Best wishes.

By Roberta Bonney on May 28, 2011


Hi Paula, I loved reading your Cherry words this morning. I too love to Garden and cook. Two of the best activities in life besides spending quality family time. congratulations on your new Grandbaby.

By Mary Tolly on May 25, 2011


We are trying to get our garden planted as well unfortunately the weather here in Nebraska hasn't been real co operative for planting! I am starting an herb garden this year and have never done that...do you have any suggestions for that. Suggestions on storing fresh herbs etc. Cristy Kimball NE

By Anonymous on May 25, 2011


Congratulations, Paula I so agree with you - since the birth of my grandson, Easton, five years ago I have felt more alive and always find a blessing in each day! So happy for you and your family and all the joy that I know you will continue to share with each other. God bless you all!

By Debbie Holmes on May 25, 2011


I agree with you. I grew up helping my folks tend to a large garden to feed our family of 5 kids and when I married, I started my own garden to the comments of why not just get it from the gracery? There is nothing like getting your hands into God's good earth and reaping His benefits. Sarah

By Sarah on May 25, 2011


Dear Paula, Congratulations on your new sweet little grandbaby. I just love watching your grandson Jack on your show. He is such a handsome little guy. I love hearing Jamie talk about Jack's love of berries. I just wish everyone could have such a loving and funny human being like you in their lives. Even if I am having a stressful and sad day, when I turn on your show and hear your voice, I always feel better instantly and feel that I am in my comfort zone with a good friend. We ate in your restaurant several years ago and still felt that ambience. Thank you for all your advice, cooking tips and love! With love from the Central Coast of California, Jennifer

By Jennifer Southward on May 25, 2011


Love that high school picture of you, you lovely lady! And I love the garden segment...I do the same, love it, couldn't live without it...it's a southern thing!

By Jo Ann Brewer on May 24, 2011


Congratualtions Paula and the whole family on the birth of Matthew James. What a joy to have a new little life in your family to love and nuture. Carol

By Carol Erickson on May 24, 2011


Paula, I love your newsletter,your TV prograam,and your recipes. Enjoy your Grandbabies-they grow up quickly. We have 7&8 greats. From the Pacific Northwest-spokane-the Lilac city .Love ya All, Izzy

By Isabel on May 24, 2011


Hello Ms. Paula, Thank you for posting this article about your love of gardening. With all the tv shows, cruises, pots and pans that are always shown it sure is nice to see you embrace gardening! I was born and raised in Augusta but live in Midville, Georgia with my husband, 2 dogs and 2 parrots! Every year we have a garden with tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, bush beans, cabbage and crookneck squash. I love to can my home grown food. I fully agree that everyone should have a garden to tend to. It is a way of life that was once a necessity and is surely making a come back! Paula, me and my husband are so proud that you represent Georgia and what southern hospitality truely means. There is no other place like Georgia. Congradulations on your new grandboy! All the best to you, Janice.

By Janice Seigler on May 24, 2011


I am so happy for you and your family. A healthy baby - How wonderful!!! I had my little Jackson in January and am eager to show him the joys of gardening as I have with my girls. There is nothing better than to watch your children's excitement while they pick a sweat pea or a berry from what they helped plant. Each of my Grandmothers loved the feel of dirt on their hands and sun at their back as they planted each season. I can still see their smiles and smell the fresh earth on their hands as we would plant together. It's such an honor to now be a mother and watch my girls delight in the process with their Grandma and myself. I wish you a bountiful garden and many blessings.

By Amber on May 24, 2011


Hi Paula - this year I'm going to try planting herbs. I haven't had a garden since I was a little girl so I'm going to try herbs and tomatoes. I'll let you know how it goes. I planted teenie tiny basil seeds at easter and I now have basil started, this weekend I will put it into a bigger pot and pray! Wish me luck - I'll let you know how the herbs and tomatoes turn out smile With much love and admiration - Tracey/Turlock CA

By Tracey Lopez on May 24, 2011


Ms Paula, I started raised bed gardens this year too. Four of them. My grandfather was a plantation manger in Albany, GA when I was a kid and I guess I have the farming bug too. I love going out every day and counting how many blooms I have and thinking of the great meals I will cook my family with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers slices, fried okra and squash with onions. I even had Wammock Farm Service in Sylvania send me Lady Finger Peas to plant. Folks in Northwest GA have no idea what those are. We have invested in the materials to build and coop and I am expecting my 3 hens in about three weeks. I can hardly wait. I also got myself two bunnies to tend to keep me off the couch in the evenings. It is working. I have lost about 15 pounds tending my "crops and livestock" every night after work rather than just sitting in front of the TV. (That is after 6:30 of course I have to watch you!!! HAHA) Thanks for sharing your tips and life experiences with me. I already feel like kin. My Dad graduated from Albany High, my Mom was Miss Lee County High School and my siblings and I were born and Pheobe Puntey. We moved to Bremen in 1976. When I moved here I was made fun of because of my Southern accent and of course the way I pronoucned Albany. I still think there is no other way! But now, they all like eating from my kitchen and appreciate the things I have learned over the years from the wonderful women in my life who have taught me how to cook. You are one of them. Thanks again for everything and Congrats on the new addition. I bet he is as good-looking as his brother!! Tracy Cooper-Grice

By Tracy on May 24, 2011

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