Making A Garden

If someone figured up that in your lifetime you would earn a million dollars and then gave you the million dollars at the beginning of your working life, how motivated would you be to learn to work and then to really work?

If someone gave you a garden all planted and pruned and weeded when you first started gardening, how motivated would you be to learn to garden and then to really garden?

In either case, I would guess most of us, if we are honest, would say "not very motivated".

We all realize at some point that no one is going to hand us a million dollars. We must work to earn our money one nickel at a time. But if we accumulate enough nickels or dimes or dollars over time, we will end up with wealth. (Though for most of us, it won't be a million dollars.)

The same is true with a garden. No one is going to turn over a complete garden to us. We must build our own gardens one seed, one plant, one path a time. But if we plant enough over time, we will end up with a garden. (Though for most of us it won't be fancy enough to be featured in a magazine or bring legions of people to our gate to see it.)

But starting it from the beginning and working on it a little bit each day, that's what makes it ours, whather it is wealth or a garden. We've earned it.

And would we have it any other way?


  1. Like any relationship, the one we have with our garden builds over time. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  2. What Kathy said is so true. The garden changes and evolves over time. Our relationship deepens. We become better gardeners. It's a gradual thing, and we learn so much. Feeling philosophical tonight?~~Dee

  3. I see many gardens every day that are built by someone else. There are trucks pulled up with people pruning, deadheading, grooming, transplanting, and being the gardener for a homeowner who is not a gardener.

    I know where these non-gardeners live because I pass every day and I never see them. I admire what the people in the trucks do, but I always wonder what it feels like to live inside looking out at a garden that is not theirs!


  4. Sometimes we need that extra help, and I have been working on mine for fourteen years. It has changed and will continue to change. I know what I can do with a million and visit gardens around the world and buy more gardening stuff of course.

  5. Carol - You're right to remind us that it's the loving work that makes our gardens -- well, ours. How boring it would be to have it all finished forever and never need to set foot in the garden again!

  6. You're completely right! A little extra help is one thing, but wholesale outsourcing of all the gardening activities? Well, it's not much like gardening, even if the end result is attractive. I think, too, that it might be stressful. If someone gave me that million dollars and told me I had to spend it all on having professionals redo my gardens all at once, I think I'd expire from the stress of it all! Thanks for a good reminder of why we do what we do.

  7. It's like playing The Blues - you've got to pay your dues. And the dividends come back to you ten fold. Looking at a big tree that you planted as a little whip from a tiny a pot, there's just no substitute for that feeling.

  8. We handed our lovely garden at our old house to the new owners and they didn't care for it at all. We unwisely drove by about a year or two after the sale.....all gone and sad looking.
    I wonder if my dad has gone back to his old house in Lincoln NE that he and my stepmom lovingly landscaped. My dad moved after my stepmom died and the new owner bought the house because of the landscaping. I can only hope she cared for it as much as they did....but I doubt it. I like having a clean slate to earn my garden 'bones'.

  9. I've realized lately that the best reason I have to go out and garden is that it's mine. Many people walk into a garden-I don't think that's the problem as long as you start to change it to make it yours.

  10. Wise words. It is the journey, the process, that makes life, and gardening, all worthwhile. What would the meaning be if it were all handed to us?

  11. There's no substitute for a long term garden relationship - over time a garden will tell you what it wants, if you're listening. The more we listen, the better it gets - one night stands don't work in gardening!

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  13. You are oh so right. How could you appreciate either without working for it?? Right now I would love to have that Million though so I could hire someone to help me create what I would like to have.

  14. "Inch by inch, row by row ..."My hands are the only ones my garden knows.

    " Show me your garden and I'll tell you who you are. "

    If I were paid for all the work and materials I've put into my garden it may well be approaching that million :-)

  15. How right you are!! When we looked to purchase a house last year there were some properties that already had gardens growing. While nice I was thrilled when we found our house and I was able to start my own garden from scratch. It's a whole lot more work but I am learning so much and enjoying myself tremendously.

  16. Very well said Carol~I garden because I have to...I cannot not garden. I absolutely loved having a garden coach help me see when I could not...The work after the hardscape was completed is all mine. gail

  17. Hello,
    I love to work in my garden, to put my hand in the dirt and to do mistake.
    But when the tomatoes, the salad, the flowers and the tree grow, I am so proud of my self, because I did all alone.

  18. Making a garden is a little like making a life for yourself: no one can do it for you. What you get from a garden is much more than grass and flowers, it's a connection to all living things. The hardest thing to teach a person is how different they will feel after spending time in their garden tending the plants. I overheard a young woman trying to decide which plants to buy for her yard, she started by saying, "I don't want to get my hands dirty, so the first thing I bought was gloves!" It made me realize how different I feel about plants & flowers - about soil, about water, air, rain, because I garden. You have to be out there in the garden for that...that's why we do it!


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