Gardening is Work (You’re Not Just Doing it Wrong)


Over the years, I have noticed a pattern in my attitude toward my garden. When I am feeling discouraged (perhaps a much-loved plant is struggling, the weeds are out of control, or a design just doesn’t seem to be working), I often double my discouragement by assuming that real gardeners–accomplished gardeners–feel only peace and tranquility in their gardens.

But that simply isn’t true.

Gardening is work.

That means if you sweat or grow tired, you aren’t doing it wrong, you are doing it.

Gardening is unpredictable.

Even the most accomplished gardener can do nothing about the weather. A storm might wreck your lilies, even if you took the time to stake each one (and though I love lilies, I have never had the time to stake each one!).

Gardening is nonstop.

Gardens are never static. They aren’t like dishes or bedrooms. Wash the dishes and put them away, and that job is finished forever (until you need to eat again!). Make your bed, and your bed stays made all day. But pull a weed and another will grow. The rose that is perfect in the morning might drop its petals in the afternoon.

Gardening is good news.

Here is the good news: the work we do in our gardens is some of the most physically and emotionally satisfying work that is given us to do. Gardens can never be perfectly controlled, which means we will experience wonderful successes even when we are beginners with everything still to learn. Gardens are never finished.

Gardens are always inviting us in to participate.


Posted on

April 3, 2020

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