Sunday, June 21, 2009

lessons from gardening

I believe you can learn lessons from nature,and you can apply those to everyday life. Here are four that I thought of recently, while tooling around in my garden spaces.

1. Every plant is unique and has differing needs and characteristics. If you treat them all the same you will quickly find this out. If you trim your hydrangea like you do your peonies you will suffer the loss of blooms. Peonies can be cut down to the ground each year and they grow back strongly the next. If you do that to a hydrangea you wo't get any blooms the next year - and perhaps longer. The reason is that hydrangeas bloom on the previous years growth and if you cut off what has grown one year there is nothing for it to bloom on. Peonies, on the other hand, bloom on the current year's growth. You can make the same types of observations about herbs versus most flowers (water issues). As with plants so with people,we all have our differences and we should respect that , just like God does. Even if you are a confirmed early bird (like me) don't expect everybody esle to be one. Treat others as individuals - get to know them first before you try to help them. There is no "one size fits all".

2. Don't sweat the small things. I have learned to make peace with things that keep coming back again and again. I have a wide swath of Lamium (also known as yellow archangel). I didn't plant it in the yard, it was just here when we moved in. I tried for a while to eradicate it (natural means) but it was persistent. I finally gave up and now simple try to contain it to a certain region of the yard. It was not worth the effort I was putting out and I gradually came to accept it's presence. On the other hand I pulled out the tansy ragwort that invaded the yard, since that one is dangerous to animals. Major on the majors and minor on the minors, and work on knowing the differences. You don't have to put up a fight about everything and only rarely are things "a matter of life and death",

3.Don't be a perfectionist. One thing that every gardener learns, sooner or later, is that there is no such thing as a perfect garden. A garden is a living,growing collection of plants that rise and fall, spread and fade, season after season, and often get messy. Even things you try to contain often get out of control. If you are a perfectionist try something other than gardening. And so with life , you can't be perfect, ...don't even try. Just be content to do the best you can, and let God take care of the outcome (he's much better than you with that).

4. And finally, don't get overinvested in planning and projects - take time to enjoy your garden. Don't be so task oriented, so focused on the destination, that you miss the journey and the view as time goes by. Life , like a garden, is a journey, a work in progress. It is to be lived, not just "accomplished".

In other words, you really should just "stop and smell the roses along the way":)

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