The Old Woman At The Door: Part 2

(See Part 1 before reading Part 2)

The old woman paused before speaking. During that brief pause, I looked past her sitting across from me at the table in the sun room and out to my own garden.

It was very early in spring and I could see off in the distance a few yellow daffodils blooming in small clumps scattered here and there. The first hints of green looked like fuzzy halos around some of the trees. Further out in the garden, the vegetable garden was a newly created blank slate, and I was anxious to get out there and mark off where the new beds would be.

With a soft clearing of her throat, the old woman once again captured my gaze and began to tell me her secret.

“Carol, the secret I want you to know now, that many gardeners never figure out, is that no weed or insect or plant disease or weather calamity can do as much to prevent us from having the garden we want to have as procrastination can.

If you rid your garden of procrastination, you’ll have no regrets, and you’ll have a garden that you can share with others because it won’t be just in your mind, it will be a reality that you can sit in, stroll through, harvest from, and garden in.”

She stopped speaking momentarily, giving me a few minutes to reflect on what she had said. I hastily made some notes so I could remember this secret exactly as she told it to me.

Then she summed it up in just a few words, “Banish procrastination from your garden”.

With those final words, she rose out of her chair and headed toward the door. As she crossed the threshold, she turned and said, “If it is okay with you, I’d like to come back occasionally to see how you are doing with your garden, and perhaps share other secrets with you.”

I nodded yes and encouraged the old woman at the door to return whenever she wanted to. With that assurance, she headed down the driveway and disappeared around the corner. Before I could wonder how she got to my house, she was gone.

I suddenly could not wait to get out to the garden. I went back to my bedroom and changed into a comfortable pair of loose khaki pants with mud stained knees and my favorite old green sweatshirt. On my way out, I grabbed the hat I’d won in Austin and slipped on a pair of gardening clogs.

As I rounded up a hoe and a rake and headed back to the vegetable garden, I wondered if I would ever see the old woman at the door again.

Somehow, I knew I would.


  1. Nice post, but I've just got to say it...."I'll think about that tomorrow." (in my best Scarlet O'Hara) voice.

  2. Ah yes. Mr Procrastinator wrestles with me often. This time of year I usually win. It is when he has the heat of summer or droughty time on his side that I don't win out. Great advice from that muddy-kneed lady.

  3. Wise words from the Old Woman in hat and clogs at your door! gail

  4. That is so true for many things in life. I hope she comes back I think she has a lot to teach.

  5. Can you send her over here to say it to me in person? I really need to have this one penetrate my thick skull.
    (BTW, the word verification is the incredibly apt "write." Your storytelling here is excellent.)

  6. Great post! I need to stop reading your blog and get out there and garden. Ha ha

  7. I have a little help in the procrastination area. If I don't do it before May here in Texas it is simply too hot for the baby plants to make it and me to get any work done after 10am without worrying about heat stroke

  8. Very wise words, indeed. I need to put that on a sign somewhere. I hope the old woman tells us all her secrets. Maybe she knows how to reduce the weeds in my garden? Oh, right - that would be to get them out in a timely manner, and stop procrastinating until they have gone to seed!

  9. Oooohh, I think she needs to have a talk with me. I procrastinate over everything until it's either a rush job to get things done, or it's too late. That's what happened last fall regarding putting out newspaper and mulch in the back garden. Now I have weeds to root out before I can plant.

  10. If you only get one or two things done in the garden, even having a long unfinished list that could extend out over several years and multiple seasons, you have triumphed over procrastination.

  11. Thank you for those reassuring words, Christopher. Sometimes it truly is not procrastination, but either parents or children who need us more (for just one example).

  12. Ah yes, procrastination has affected my garden more than anything else. Very wise words from your visitor, Carol.

  13. Procrastination comes from perfectionism. If we can't get it perfect we often don't do it at all. Sigh...

  14. That was a great way to get us all going! Sometimes when it is very cold outside, I don't really feel like going out there...even tho I must!

  15. Funny as I read through the story I am agreeing with the old lady. Yep I procrastinate and I guess I am going to have to fix that. The other thing I was thinking, is this true or is this a story. If true, interesting old lady. If a story, you have me hooked, but can I ask, is the old lady you? I happened upon your blog in the list of top 50 gardening blogs, nice to have met you. I can't wait to read more about the old lady and see your gardens.


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