With the help of my family, I was able to find and move into a new home last fall. To say it has been an experience is an understatement! I knew fairly quickly that I wanted a garden of my own. So, in late spring, I did it! I built and planted a small garden.
I’ve been surprised by just how much I’ve enjoyed the process of planning, planting, maintaining, and harvesting. I’ve also been surprised by how much I’ve learned along the way.
What Gardening Is Teaching Me
My garden dreams were (are) huge, but this year, I purposefully planned for small. You see, it doesn’t take long for my ideas to grow and far exceed my skill level and more often than not, the availability in my schedule to invest the time and effort required to bring the dream to life.
So here are a few ways in which gardening is teaching me some valuable lessons.
Lesson #1: Planning works
And, it doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated.
I’ve never had trouble making a plan. It’s the follow-through that I struggle with the most.
What my garden plan has shown me is that I have a tendency of making plans too big and complicated. These are plans I have no chance of succeeding with and eventually stop even trying. The plans I drew up for my veggie and flower garden were simple, stayed within a budget, and had built in flexibility.
Now that I understand this better about myself, it has helped me:
- Enjoy my garden more
- Dream about the possibilities for expanding my garden in the future
- Easily maintain (and more importantly keep alive) my garden
- Create plans for other areas of my life that I can follow through on
Lesson #2: Patience has its rewards
Patience is NOT one of my virtues.
There is an excellent reason I like to plant radishes in a garden. They grow fast. When a radish is planted, there is a lot of quick action :). They also taste so much better fresh. Since they grow and mature so quickly, it helps me practice patience as I wait for the rest of the garden to catch up.
Seeing those leaves pop up and the red of the radish start to push its way out of the ground shows that every stage of the garden takes time. If I exercise patience, the radish will continue to grow bigger and offer a more abundant harvest. The radish reminds me that with patience the garden will grow and create a harvest worth waiting for.
Lesson #3: It’s okay to go small
We are often told to dream big dreams and to play big or go home. And while there is a time and place for this way of thinking, it does not always apply to every situation.
By purposefully planning a small garden, I am not feeling overwhelmed, and I’m being able to handle the maintenance and care it needs. Keeping it manageable has contributed to my enjoyment of the garden.
There is stillness to be found in going small and enjoying the process.
In a previous post, I talked about cleaning out my email inbox and reducing the number of voices and opinions I listen to on a subject. Gardening has been no different.
After spending a little too much time on Pinterest looking for garden tips and ideas, I was in information overload with no clear direction. I reduced the overwhelming amount of information by picking a select group of people to listen to. That step helped me to cut through the noise and create a plan of what materials I needed and what to plant.
Here are the three resources I chose to pay attention too:
- Wellness Mama and Square Foot Gardening
- Lara Casey’s Gardening 101 blog post series. I also recommend following here on Instagram as she shares about her garden
- Erin Benzakein of Floret Flowers has a drool-worthy Instagram feed, website, and gorgeous book called “Cut Flower Garden
While I love my veggie garden and will take what I am learning this year to grow and expand it next year, my garden dreams include a cut flower garden. The beauty of a flower fascinates me.
Visit a gorgeous flower garden in full bloom and notice how you feel. The beauty of each flower, the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and the amazing fragrance all combine into an experience. And that experience invites you to slow down, be in the moment, and find stillness.
And that invitation, my friend, I think is at the heart of my garden dreams.
What has gardening taught you?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.