Gardens Grow and So Do We.
I believe that we are all on a journey to develop our character.
We encounter people, places, and events that challenge this growth and create learning opportunities.
In some cases, the lessons are difficult ones, while others are much less painful.
As I continue to learn, I realize that there can be lessons in the major events of life as well as the ordinary.
My garden has spoken lessons and truth to me this summer.
I am sure that this is not the first time, but I am in a place in my life that I am open to receive this guidance.
My hope is that you can relate and see how these 7 lessons may apply in your life.
Lesson 1: I only harvest what I plant.
I have some regrets this season.
I wanted to grow several cut flowers and other ornamental plants, but I didn’t make time this spring to plant them.
Now that it is early fall, I see how I should have been more intentional and seized the opportunity before it slipped away.
My plan is to start a gardening journal and make plans now for next season.
This lesson is an unusual one for me because I am a very task-oriented person and I generally accomplish a lengthy daily to-do list.
However, I see that when it comes to my own personal enjoyment, I put those items to the bottom of the list.
Although this is typical of many women, I want to give myself permission to make some of my requests a priority.
Lesson 2: There is beauty and wonder in everything- if you look for it.
My husband Jimmy and I live in an older home on the west side of Cleveland.
Suburban living isn’t part of our long-term plan as we hope to move to a home with more land.
I sometimes become frustrated with the idiosyncrasies of our house- the uneven concrete patio, the neighbor’s chain-link fence, and other “blemishes” that a newer home wouldn’t have.
In spite of all of that, I have grown to love the solace of our patio and was pleased with how the flowers and tropical plants transformed it into a beautiful retreat.
We are blessed with a wooded area behind our home and several large, mature trees.
This makes our yard feel cozy and inviting.
I am grateful that this summer I have been able to look past the imperfections and be appreciative for what we have.
Lesson 3: I love bold colors and it is ok!
My fashion style does not reflect this statement.
I have always preferred clothing and home décor that was understated.
I tend to “play it safe” and not draw attention to myself.
Therefore, I would purchase flowers and plants that reflected this style as well.
Perhaps I have been too concerned with what others might think or just not confident in my choices.
However, I realized this summer that I truly love flowers with bright, bold colors- and lots of them!
Delicate, demur flowers are beautiful and they will always have a place in my garden, but I enjoy the vibrancy, contrast, and energy of bright colors.
Lesson 4: Some things are worth the cost- even if they don’t last long.
Tropical plants are one of my new passions for creating a beautiful patio.
Living in the Midwest, they must be indoors or in a heated greenhouse to survive the winter.
I do not have space for either, so tropical plants are an annual, reoccurring investment for me.
I sometimes hesitate each spring to spend money on large palms that will only last 5-6 months.
However, looking back, the pleasure they bring is worth every penny.
Palm fronds gently blowing in the wind, creating a tropical island feel is priceless.
It will make even the most stressed-out workaholic relax.
Lesson 5: Slow down and pay attention.
I purchased some large containers with flowering canna this season to help create a sense of enclosure and privacy around our patio.
I returned to the garden center to buy one more plant to complete the space, but I was in a hurry to get home.
In my haste, I selected a banana tree instead of a canna.
They have similar looking leaves, but I should have known the difference.
It took several days until I realized that it was different than the others.
The banana tree is beautiful and I am glad to have it, but it serves as a reminder to me that I can go through the motions and get things accomplished, but if I slow down, I can do them correctly.
Lesson 6: At age 49, I still have dreams.
This season of gardening has revealed to me that I still have dreams to fulfill.
At 49 years old, it would be easier to say that it is too late or I missed my chance.
However, I have a renewed sense of passion for life.
There are still goals I would like to achieve.
It will take work and may not be as easy as it would have been 20 years ago, but the fear of failure is diminishing.
It is better to try and fail than to have regrets for what could have been.
Lesson 7: I have to work smarter rather than harder.
Gardening doesn’t look the same for me now as it did 10 years ago.
Although I still have the passion and love for gardening, I don’t have the energy and stamina of my youth.
It is imperative that I use my brain more than my back. The reverse was true in the past.
Time is also a valued commodity.
One glaring opportunity for me to save time and energy is to automate watering.
I hope to set-up a drip tube and soaker hose system on a timer next season.
This will water all of my containers and flower beds automatically.
In actuality, I think this system will be more consistent and more efficient than the hand watering I do.
It will also bring me comfort knowing that my plants will be well-watered while on vacation.