What Gardening Has Taught Me About Life

by Fern on June 4, 2010

in General

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I’ve learned a lot about life through gardening, probably because it is such a contemplative hobby. I’d love to hear what, if anything, you’ve learned from your time spent among plants.

1. Failure is an opportunity to try again, this time with more knowledge.

A lot of people think that someone with a green thumb was born that way. I don’t think that’s really true. Green thumbs–at least all of them that I’ve seen–are earned by killing lots of plants and trying to figure out how not to do that again. I think we often forget how common it is to fail at something before mastering the skill, because we do the majority of our experimentation when are much younger. Kids are pretty resilient, but somewhere along the way we “learn” that failing is something to be ashamed of. The net result is that we stop trying something after failing once because we don’t want to risk failing again.

2. Enjoy where you are in life right now

For the longest time after I moved out of my parents house I intentionally did not have a garden. I’ve always had plants, but they weren’t something I thought much about or spent much time caring for. I was waiting to have a yard. Waiting to own my own home. How silly is that?! Yes, it would be wonderful to have my own dirt to garden in, but it is also wonderful to garden in containers on my balcony. You can’t be so focused on your goals that you  forget to enjoy, and make the best of where you are right now.

3. Perfection is not a worthwhile goal

It is not possible to have a “perfect” garden. Invariably a pest will sneak in and nibble on a plant before you notice and can react. Or a strong gust of wind will break some flower stems. Or any number of other “calamities” will happen that are largely outside of your control. And you know what. It’s okay. Last year I could not, for the life of me, get rid of the whitefly that were feasting on my iris leaves, but the flowers still took my breath away. Something doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be beautiful, worthwhile, or rewarding.

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