I have committed the first five secrets to memory and can recite them as almost an "elevator speech". You all know what an elevator speech is, right? It's that little spiel you memorize and are prepared to go through when you have just a minute or so, or the length of time of a short elevator ride, to say it.
Here's my spiel for the first five secrets to achieving happiness in your garden.
"There are five main secrets for achieving happiness in your garden. Follow these and I promise you'll be a happy gardener. Grow the plants you love, size the garden for the resources you have, buy good tools, respect Mother Nature, and share your garden with others." When I say them, I find myself counting off the secrets on one hand.
I'm still working on a spiel for the second five secrets, which include plan your garden, feed the soil, strive for balance, ask for help, and change your garden if you don't like it.
Then there are three more secrets that really need two more to go with them to make them a set: try new plants, plant for the future, and take a break from your garden.
Fortunately, I finally found that missing 14th secret. It was there all along, as most of the secrets to achieving happiness in your garden are. I just needed the right combination of warmth, sun, and time in the garden to find it. It was written in the very fine print on the back of an old plant label, one of those labels you find lying around the garden not anywhere near the plant it describes.
Maybe a clever garden fairy left it there for me to find it.
Regardless of how it came to be there, I picked it up and noticed that there in that fine print it said "Visit your garden, the 14th secret".
Visit your garden.
Makes perfect sense. We often are out in our gardens - to weed, mow, mulch, hoe, plant, dig up, pull out, water, edge and do any number of other tasks. We rarely just go out to our gardens to visit them, to walk the paths, smell the flowers, leaving pruners, hoes, gloves, and other tools behind, lest they tempt us to start gardening before we've really had a chance to see and enjoy the whole garden.
It's kind of sad in a way, to never visit your own garden.
You may find it hard to visit your garden without wanting to reach down and pull a weed, or run back to the garden shed to get some pruners.
But really, try to visit your garden. Stop fussing about it all the time. See it not for the tasks that need to be done, but for the beauty of the flowers, lawn, trees and shrubs. Enjoy it for a change
Visit your garden, and learn the 14th secret to achieving happiness in your garden.