cabbage butterfly

9 Life Hacks I Learned in the Garden

posted in: Lifestyle, Outside | 0


  1. The real secret to life is learning how to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. I am a creative person and lately my muse has been chaos and discombobulation.   It’s only by finding boundaries to channel these energies that I can express myself properly. If you fancy yourself a round hole who has yet to find a square peg you need to fit into, you probably need to expand your horizons. Alternatively, finding a way to accomplish the impossible can require you to think outside the box. For example, this analogy isn’t really a garden lesson, but it’s my list and I can do what I want.
  2. Everything grows, and eventually some things must go. I designed my first garden over a decade ago when I was just out of horticulture school. I thought long and hard about every plant I choose and where I planted them. This year, I realized that my two favorite trees have grown so much they shaded a lot of the vegetables I planted underneath them. So as much as it breaks my heart, I’m going to have to make some drastic changes. Sometimes in life, we have to say farewell to things that no longer serve us so that we can move forward.
  3. Albizia garden lessons
    Albizia julibrissin is shading out the veggies
  1. Everything is connected, and everything matters. A garden needs healthy soil in order to grow healthy plants. These healthy plants feed the rest of the ecosystem. Potentially bees, birds, and humans eat them, but billions of other tiny organisms feed on them too and they are what help make the soil so darn healthy. When you make changes to the environment, any of these creatures can be affected. This is a truth that extends outside the garden. Act with anger, or hurt and someone around you will feel that and potentially react negatively with someone around them. Maybe it will be with someone you know or with someone who knows someone you know. See what happens next time you smile at a stranger or give someone a hug. Do it everyday and you might end up changing lives, starting with your own.
  2. There is beauty everywhere. I arrived at my mom’s garden one day to find my three year old niece holding one the tiniest blue flower in her hand, waiting for me to tell her what they were. They are called blue star creeper and I planted them in in the bare patches of lawn because I want them to naturally take over the parts of lawn that are failing. Right now I think it looks a little bit like patchwork, but when she looked at the lawn she just saw those lovely blue flowers.
    blue star creeper
    blue star creeper, a hidden gem.
  1. Quick fixes are usually long term problems in disguise. Every good gardener knows that when a plant in your garden gets a disease or is attracting pests, you need to treat the problem, not the symptom.  For example, plants that are weak due to environmental conditions like drought or poor drainage will either get sick or attract pests. Killing the pest doesn’t solve the problem and even the safest pesticides can make the plant sicker. We need to treat our own ailments in a similar way. Instead of a daily dose of painkiller to treat chronic pain or eating, drinking or buying away emotional pain, you have to deal with what’s causing the pain.
  2. Face your fears. I am terrified of spiders. Any creature that eats it’s mate should be feared, in my opinion. There is no way to avoid running into spiders in the garden, and delicately brushing past occupied webs is a daily chore that makes my heart pound. But sometimes you just have to pull up your socks, tuck in your shirt and do what needs to be done. The worst that can happen is that you wake up the next morning hoping that whatever bit you in the middle of the night isn’t still in your bed.
    garden lesson with spiders
    A pair of spiders… look closely!
  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The, Albizia julibrissin is a show stopper, and for two months of the year it is laden with delicate, bright pink flowers that are so lovely people often come by with cameras to photograph it. I admit, I do love them, but I also loved finding a cucumber hanging from the berberis, and the little forest of salad greens under the hibiscus.
  1. A little bit of mess can be beautiful. When I first started gardening, I cleaned up all the leaves, cultivated all the garden beds and cut off flowers when they died. I cut lawns at 1” and kept them green by fertilizing the living crap out of them. The purpose of all of this was to make the garden look beautiful. I didn’t realize that the gardens I was looking after weren’t very healthy. Sometimes it can be really hard to convince people that leaving the leaves is the best thing to improve the health of the garden because we are so used to seeing manicured landscapes. I think sometimes we have to let go of the idea that beauty is something without any visible flaws.
    garden lesson viola
    viola with salad greens poking out of mulch
  1. The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried. I definitely can’t say that I’ve mastered much in the way of gardening this year, but I have tried a lot of really cool things. Sometimes when I look around at the garden all I see are the things that haven’t worked out, or the mistakes that I’ve made. Sometimes when I look at my life I can say the same thing. But then, I’ve never been all that interested in doing things that are easy or ordinary. All I can do is keep trying to improve upon the things I don’t absolutely love yet so that I can start absolutely loving them in the future. Or at least learn something from the ensuing disaster.
    blooming garden lesson
    View of the garden in summer

So…. what did I miss? What life lesson’s have you learned in the garden or in your line of work?


Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge