My son, Travis, recently commented on a post I wrote about looking at weeds in a new light and seeing how they can be useful. He made me see how much the garden has to teach us.
The first thing you learn in the garden is that there can be no transformation without work. It’s not miraculous, no matter how it may seem. If you’re not working towards a certain goal, the garden will simply transform itself in whatever way it chooses, usually following the “survival of the fittest” rule. That’s called going back to nature and it’s beautiful in its own way. However, as gardeners, we’re usually aiming to shape a space to suit our vision and our taste and to make it a reflection of ourselves.
I’ve been thinking about this because I’m in the process of transforming the front yard, from a boring, scruffy-looking lawn to an extension of the Tranquil Garden, and I’m amazed at how obliging the space is turning out to be. I was unsure when I started this project last year whether the soil was going to be decent enough, after years of neglect and with the maple tree monopolizing all the nutrients and water, to support a variety of plants. So far, it has! Everything I’ve planted this year appears to be thriving. It’s gratifying to say the least. I have a lot more plants to put in before I’m done, but I’m much more excited about it now that I see the changes I’ve made so far.
I thought about this project for many years before I finally decided to turn thought into action. Admittedly, it took a few days of hard work last year to get the grass smothered with the lasagna method, but in retrospect I can’t believe I put it off for so long. It was more than worth the effort (thanks again to Ginny and Maureen, I haven’t forgotten your invaluable help!); and now, every time I dig up and/or divide another plant to fill out the front, I’m more aware of how much that small effort will reward me with future beauty. That thought alone gives me the drive to get to work.
So, whether you’re much of a gardener or not, I encourage you to do some work towards some kind of transformation in your life. Whatever effort it may cost you will be repaid tenfold in experience, improvement, or some other type of gain you may or may not even be able to imagine right now. For us middle-agers, it’s easy to think that we are who we are, now and forever. Can’t teach an old dog…etc. I am glad to report that it’s not true. New habits can be made, old ones broken. Even tiny changes in your life can give you new spark, new enthusiasm. If you don’t believe me, plant a flower.