Three Lessons from my Garden

I’m not an expert gardener by any means, but with each passing year, I get more and more joy out of getting my hands dirty and seeing what comes of it.

There’s a healthy humility that comes from gardening, an acceptance of our place in the bigger picture.

Gardening has and will continue to teach me important lessons in life.  These are the top three:

1)  It’s good to have a plan.

Being faced with an expanse of earth or an expanse of life  and no idea what to do is overwhelming and scary.  Just letting things happen gives you a garden full of weeds and a life full of other people’s expectations.  Far better to scribble something on the back of a napkin and make your world your own.

2) It’s good to know when to change your plan.

I once planted a beautiful nicotiana in my front garden, so it could offer up its scent to guests returning late at night.  By the next morning some very happy insect had eaten the entire thing.  A very wise gardener told me that if something doesn’t work in the spot you’ve picked, to either try it in a new spot or put something different in that spot or both.   That kind of flexibility comes in handy in life, too.  Though often, “It’s not working” isn’t as clear as the sad, bare skeleton of a nicotiana, if you experience that sort of thing often enough in the garden, you’ll learn to recognize the feeling in your life.

3) Despite all your plans and changes of plan, things will happen that you can neither predict nor control.

In a garden, these are called “flowers”.  In life, they’re called ‘miracles’.  Inhale deeply and enjoy.

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7 Responses to Three Lessons from my Garden

  1. Mary says:

    I love the milkweed which imposed itself on my front garden- it has an aroma which is divine- particularly potent in the morning as I open the front door to pick up the mail. The tall stems are up to four feet tall and have an architectural look.
    Much more effective than anything I ever planted intentionally.
    Funny thing is that although it pops up everywhere in my yard I have yet to see it in the neighbours’ yards and it’s been a few years. Now, what are the”weeds” in my life that I need to nurture? Those unexpected and often unrecognized gifts that seem accidental. But are they?

  2. Barb McMahon says:

    I’ve always loved the phrase “happy accidents”. Your milkweed is definitely a happy accident – and one meant only for you apparently!

    And I love the image of nurturing our weeds – such a great idea!

  3. sandy says:

    I love this post most of all.
    Next best thing to a field of milkweed (don’t forget the monarchs that come from them!), a field of dandelions – especially when they’ve gone to seed and you can run through them!

  4. Barb McMahon says:

    You’ll have to come run through my lawn this summer!

  5. Adila says:

    Another lovely entry.

  6. Barb McMahon says:

    Thanks so much, Adila! I’m glad you liked it.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I love your picture — its just the most beautiful flower!

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