Embrace Hard Work For A Happier Life

Would we be happier as gardeners if someone else did all the digging, planting, weeding, watering, hoeing, and mulching in our gardens?

What would life be like if all we had to do was pick out the plants, tell the nice worker where to plant the plants, and then flit about the garden in the cool evening admiring the lovely garden “we” made.

Now don’t rush to leave a comment and say “Yes, I’d be so much happier if someone else did all the hard work in my garden!”

I wouldn’t believe you, if you are a gardener.

I don’t know of any gardeners who really want someone else to do the work, even though they might occasionally lament after a long day of gardening that it would be nice to have someone else do the actual hard work part of gardening.

Yes, there is some work we are not capable of doing on our own, and for that we find someone stronger and more able-bodied to help us. But most gardeners I know really do like to do as much of the work in their gardens as they are able to do.

Of course there are many wonderful and very fine people who like to have gardens to enjoy, and do have someone do all the work, but they wouldn’t call themselves gardeners. It’s not a bad thing or a serious character flaw, it just means they aren’t gardeners. We should encourage these non-gardening people to have gardens anyway, as more than one gardener has managed to make a good living providing them with the pleasant surroundings of a beautiful garden.

(My sister-who-does-not-garden is one of those non-gardeners. But she managed to keep alive the beautiful Fusion Impatiens pictured above. I planted them up for her this spring and all she had to do was water them. Looks like she kept up her end of the deal and they look great.)

But for the rest of us, the gardeners, we really are happier with our gardens when we do most of the gardening ourselves. We mix our own blood, sweat, and occasional tears with the dirt of the garden, making it truly our own. And at the end of the day, we can walk about the garden in the cool evening, tired, admiring what a lovely garden we have truly made.

We call a lot of the activities of gardening ‘work’ because it is truly hard work. Plain ol’ hard work. The kind of work that leaves you sore, and hot, and tired. But we embrace it, because it makes us happy to do this gardening.

And on this Labor Day holiday, we not only embrace hard work, we also say thank you to all the workers who embrace hard work every day. They help make it possible for us to lead the lives we lead today. To all those workers who build the equipment, grow the plants, pack the supplies, make the tools, sell the plants, and otherwise help us all to embrace gardening in a way that gives us time to enjoy the gardens we create, we say thank you.

Yes, embrace hard work for a happier life!


Other Embraces for a Happier Life

Embrace weeding
Embrace bugs
Embrace your weather
Embrace your soil
Embrace mowing
Embrace botanical names
Embrace never finished
Embrace garden journals


  1. Perfect post for Labor Day, Carol! I wonder if I'd have much of a garden if I couldn't be the one playing in the dirt? I hope I never have to find out!

  2. As much as I sometimes dislike mowing the lawn. It looks so great when its done and you can say you did it yourself.

    As far as gardens go, I can't imagine letting anyone else design, plant and tweak my garden. At the end of the day I can say it's mine. Good or Bad it's mine.

  3. And don't forget the exercise benefits! Why pump away on a treadmill when you can haul woodchips across the lawn? Think about all the energy wasted on treadmills and situps that could be spent beautifying.

  4. Labor for Labor Day, is it? No, I don't think I could stand to have anyone do things in the garden for me. I often say I like to garden even though I don't have a garden. That is, my space could benefit probably from a real garden designer and someone to arrange things for me. But my point in being in the garden is to mess around in the dirt and observe the minute changes from day to day. Having someone else make it for me would drain the garden of meaning.

    I hadn't been home a day before I broke all my fingernails and formed an unassailable ribbon of dirt beneath what was left of them. I do not labor wisely, but I labor well.

  5. That makes perfect sense. Most of us enoy the hard work especially when it's about 75 degrees and no humidity. My favorite part of the hard work is planting the new babies in the Spring.

  6. I wouldn't want someone else doing all the work in my garden, it would defeat the purpose. I like knowing I was there from the beginning. Creating the new bed, planting the seed, watching it grow, nuturing it along the way until the first bloom. Happy Labor Day Carol.

  7. Amen, Sister of Embraces. I don't want anyone except my DB to help in the garden and even he knows when not to help. I think a garden is a very personal thing. It just wouldn't do to have someone else poking around moving plants etc when you don't want them moved or poked.

  8. Perfect post for labor day and to motivate me to continue cleaning up my messes.

  9. We are so on the same wavelength lately. I wish I had more brawn to be able to do everything myself, but it is fun sometimes to have someone to do the hard work with.

  10. Especially sweat. We have a lot of sweat in our gardens. I like doing the work. I like the results later. I guess I'm a gardener,through and through.~~Dee

  11. Sister of embraces, good one, Lisa! You have so many names now, Carol, and there will probably be more to come. Always a fun read. For me, the working, sweating and yes bleeding in the garden is the point. It is the best stress reliever in the world and the only side affect is a nice garden to enjoy..

  12. It has never entered my head to have someone else do my gardening, To begin with I doubt anyone would want to do it. No, even though I grumble a lot I really like the challenge of keeping it under control. I also have a friend who is non gardener but manages to keep some great pots of plants whereas I always struggle with pots. As a final point all that hard work makes it possible to eat chocolate at the end of the day.

  13. You have once again said it perfectly Carol! The sweat and pain is nothing compared to the joy and satisfaction hard-work in the garden brings. It's hard to explain to non-gardeners but the digging, even those rocks I grow, is the best zen experience for me!

  14. There are many days when I wish someone else would spade up a flowerbed or weed the vegetable garden! But you are right, there's definitely a sense of satisfaction when you can say, I did this all by myself!
    As I read this, Carol, I was reminded of your first tomato post--gardening is somewhat like the story of the Little Red Hen. " I dug this flowerbed myself, I planted it, I mulched it, I weeded it, and now I'm going to enjoy it!"

  15. You make a great point about gardeners. We want to do the work ourselves, and even if we complain about it, secretly we enjoy it. Or maybe it's that we feel pride in seeing the fruit of our own labor.

    But I'm with you in encouraging those who want a garden but don't want to do the designing or digging to call on professional help. Gardens add beauty to the world, no matter who makes them or whether the owner sweats over them or not.

  16. I appreciate the comments from Pam/digging "gardens add beauty to the world, no matter who makes them or whether the owner sweats over them or not" since I'm the sister-who-does-not-garden. And I appreciate my sister Carol who very willingly plants my flowers each spring so I can enjoy their beauty throughout the summer.


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