On my recent post about Garden Attention Distraction Syndrome (GADS), Annie in Austin commented that she liked the “advice to go with the flow, acting less like ants glued to a task and a trail, and more like bumblebees among the hollyhocks, appreciating every blossom.”
What a perfect analogy for GADS. And with her own follow up post, Embrace the GADS, Annie showed us how even when you are bouncing around the garden like a bumblebee amongst the hollyhocks, a lot does get done and new discoveries are made.
After all, even the bumblebee goes back to the hive with pollen at the end of the day.
We rallied. “Embrace the GADS!” Be the bumblebee! Be the Bee. Be.
But now the ants would like to have their say.
Sometimes it’s good, perhaps desirable, to be “glued to a task and a trail” like the ant.
When I rebuilt a retaining wall along the foundation of my house, it was good to be purposeful and ant-like to get the job done. Working quickly and without distraction, I was able to tear out and rebuild the wall in an afternoon.
When MSS at Zanthan Gardens was recently claiming her share of the Christmas tree mulch in Austin, she was being more like the ant than the bumblebee. She wanted to get her share and there were many other ants, I mean gardeners, working that same pile.
And I bet when Pam/digging preps her garden for a reception for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling, she’ll be more like an ant than a bumblebee.
Yes, sometimes it is good to be the ant, to follow through on the task, to stay on the trail.
If you are more inclined to be like the bumblebee, here are some tips on help you be like an ant, especially when you have a big project to complete in the garden
Visualize and plan your work from start to finish before you get started. If you have a big project to do in the garden, like planting a newly dug flower bed, think through from start to finish what you need to do. This will help remind you of the tools, supplies and plants you’ll need before you even get started.
Take all the tools and supplies you need with you to wherever you are working in the garden. By having your hoes, rakes, shovels, pruners, trowels, and supplies right there, you won’ have to go back and forth to your garden shed or garage, facing temptation along the way to take care of this or that little task. It’s easy to revert to being the bumblebee again when you see a lot of little things to do in the garden.
Keep a supply of gardening essentials on hand. Just like good cooks keep their kitchens well stocked with the basics that go into most recipes (so I’ve heard), gardeners should keep basic supplies on hand, too. By having a stash of potting soil, peat moss, top soil, compost, organic fertilizers, basic clay pots, etc. you won’t have to go to the garden center before you do even the smallest project. This will help you avoid too many GAD$ attacks, which can be damaging to your wallet.
Eliminate distractions you can before you can get started on a big project. It may seem counterproductive at first, but giving in to a little GADS activity before you start a big project can help you focus on that big project. It’s like cleaning off the kitchen counters before you start cooking (so I've heard).
Plan for breaks at key ‘milestones’ of your garden project. You can stay on the ant trail longer if you stay hydrated, rest every once in a while, and make sure to apply sunscreen more than once, especially if you sweat. (Sweat? Oh, yeah, even that fancy gardener in the white dress in my profile picture can work up a good sweat.)
Reward yourself at the end of the project. It’s not good to always be the ant. Be the bumblebee again, or better yet, be like a butterfly. Sit and relax and admire your completed project. Spend time just enjoying your garden.
New poll! Are you mostly an ant, a bumblebee or a butterfly gardener? Participate in the poll on the sidebar to the right.