Achieving Happiness in Your Garden: The Sixteenth Secret

OSO EASY™ Cherry Pie Rosa 'Meiboulka' by the green chairs.
Now that it is June, the weather has done a complete reversal from last weekend's temperatures in the 90's to today's shivering temperature of 60F. 

I guess June got the memo from March, April, and May about how fun it is to be some other month than what you are.

Ha!  Fun indeed. These unseasonable months are mostly just confusing and unsettling for gardeners, plants, and critters alike.

Yet, even with the confusing weather of this spring, or perhaps because of it, I did manage to learn a few new secrets about achieving happiness in the garden in the merry month of May.  

One of the biggest new secrets that I discovered, the sixteenth secret, is to slow down in your garden.

Slow down in your garden?

Many may ask how in the world can slowing down in your garden during the one month when it seems there is so much to do that you should really put a rush in your hurry up to get it all done make you happier in your garden?

Glad you asked.

Over the past few weeks, I have been practicing the Pomodoro Technique of time management.  There's an app for that!  I downloaded a Pomodoro timer onto my iPhone and use it to keep from working myself to a frazzle in the garden before taking a break. 

With this time management technique, I set the time and then work  in the garden for about 25 minutes, until the timer goes off.  Then I take a five minute break to drink a glass of water and stretch a bit, especially if I've been kneeling in the garden to weed.  When the break is over, I set the timer again for another 25 minutes and go on to whatever else I'm doing in the garden.

After about four iterations, or about two hours, I take a longer break.

I understand this time management technique isn't everyone's idea of the best way to hoe a row, but it has been useful to me and has helped me realize how fast I move in the garden.  

I figured out in several of those 25 minute segments that when I'm out in the garden, I'm hopping around like a jack rabbit, walking briskly from the front to the back, from the back to the front, kneeling, standing, starting this, doing that. While I manage to get a lot done at this quick speed, at the end of my gardening time I'm exhausted.

Slow down in your garden.

I discovered that if I consciously slow down a bit, I still get a lot done in the garden and have some energy left afterward.  I am, of course, still dirty, sweaty, and tired, but I'm not exhausted to the point that I'm shot for the day. 

Slow down in your garden, the sixteenth secret to achieving happiness in your garden.

I think the Old Woman at the Door would be proud of me for figuring out this secret at my young age. In fact, by slowing down a bit and taking periodic breaks, I'm keeping her from showing up as often as she once did.  I miss her, of course, but I'm sure she'll still show up every once in a while, anyway.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I am heartily in favor of apps to help us live healthier lives. But I find that this year I just naturally want to have a seat and smell the roses--without a timer. (Lots of tempting seating here.) My body demands it. So does my soul. Good advice, Carol.

  2. I'm so slow anyway I couldn't possibly get any slower. Maybe that is a good thing?

  3. If I may make a suggestion, perhaps you should organize your pomodoros geographically rather than by task. Load everything you need into a wagon or wheelbarrow, then, do whatever needs doing in one section of the garden. You'd do less walking back and forth.

  4. I use the pomodoro method for housecleaning. Now that our Texas summer has arrived, the heat provides a natural stopping point for garden tasks; but I'll have to give this method a try when it cools off again (which is when a simple plan turns into three hours of garden meandering).

  5. I haven't used a timer but I move slowly and seem to get a lot done. I call it "plodding"...Mrs. ProfessorRoush calls it "puttering."


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