Where does Motivation go?

Did you ever wonder where the motivation to garden goes in the summertime?

We all start out the gardening season full of ideas and energy and Motivation.

On the first warm day of spring, we grab our little friend Motivation, roll up our sleeves and dig in once again.  We hold hands with Motivation and walk around the garden,  together marveling how the soil is so soft and crumbly and smells just as we remembered it smelling.

We take Motivation with us to the garden centers and buy plants by the flats and load up our trunks and trucks with mulch and top soil. We can hardly wait to take it all home and transform our garden, with Motivation's help, once again.

We are just so productive with Motivation by our side.  We can hardly stand it to turn dark at the end of the day and force us back inside until another dawn and another day of gardening.

Then one day, it happens.  Motivation disappears.  It's hot. There are mosquitoes. Motivation doesn't like hot and mosquitoes.  Motivation gets discouraged, too, because not everything turns out as we thought it would.

We think occasionally we ought to go look for Motivation in the summertime and see if we can get it to help us do a little weeding, but then we go for a few weeks without rain.  We know that even if we find it, Motivation will whine and try to convince us to wait until it rains before we weed and may even suggest the bigger weeds will be easier to see and pull out.

Motivation can be tricky that way.

Then we sort of get used to not having Motivation around very much in the dog days of summer.

Sure, we get a few glimpses of our ol' spring friend, Motivation, when the first green beans are ready to be picked.  And Motivation is always there eager to taste the first ripe tomatoes, the first ears of sweet corn, really the first of any crop.

Then Motivation realizes again that it's hot and there are mosquitoes and goes into hiding again.  Where does our friend Motivation hide?  Motivation likes to hide in the cucumber patch and looks a lot like over-ripened cucumbers.  It disguises itself as "something green" in the back of the flower border, which on closer inspection, is nothing more than our old nemesis, Thistle.  

Good ol' Motivation.  It likes to leave us with just enough time to mow the lawn but not enough time to trim it because Motivation is like that.

Fortunately, at least in my garden, Motivation usually shows up again around Labor Day.  It's ready now to weed those paths, trim the lawn, clear out the overgrown cucumbers. Truthfully, I think Motivation is just a little bit embarrassed by how it let the weeds grow and didn't provide a proper support for the wisteria, again.  It is ready to make amends. By-gones, says Motivation. Every day is a new day in the garden, a fresh start,  no matter what happened all summer, no matter where Motivation hid.

Of course, I'm happy when Motivation comes back in early fall. It's always welcome in my garden and in fact is key to my garden's success. Without Motivation, what would my garden look like? What would any garden look like?

I'm afraid I know what my garden looks like without Motivation and it isn't a pretty sight.

Welcome back, Motivation. Let's get started with some weeding, okay?


  1. I like the idea of taking Motivation by the hand in springtime. I'm even more grateful when Motivation gets back from vacation and helps me in the fall. Thank goodness, it's back.~~Dee

  2. Vanishing motivation doesn't just happen with heat and the mosquito. Sadly, it starts to happen with age.

  3. I love this! It is perfectly put - I'm finding many excuses to avoid the work that earlier in the season I dove into with wreckless abandon! Thank you for putting this into such a humor-filled light! I'll head out there as soon as I finish my coffee...but oh no! It's supposed to rain! :-)

  4. I think you answered your own question... 'its hot'. UGH that zaps any motivation I have for anything outside.

  5. I don't lack motivation in the summer I just can't deal with the heat and humidity of Houston! I would rather be out in a sweater than feeling like I just took a sauna! The worst is the clouds of mosquitoes. We spray with garlic oil and that really helps but they still get me. In the south we hibernate in the summer and enjoy our garden the other 3 seasons. This summer our rain came back and so the plants did great. Even my Japanese silver fern suck around all summer and some of the hostas are still blooming.

  6. I am trying to maintain motivation to keep planting for a strong fall garden. I gave myself a 30 day challenge to plant something daily through the end of September. Join me?

  7. Enjoyed your post. I blogged about this same feeling a few weeks ago. And I agree with John as stated above. Age has something to do with it as well!

  8. Love it! I'd like to join hands with motivation again, but it's 95 outside today in central NC. I think of motivation like the black cat I saw sleeping outside this afternoon - it will come crawling out from under the plants sometime in mid-September.

  9. Ah, my Motivation must be related to your Motivation! Sadly, my is a little slower to return in the fall. It's past Labor Day and she's not back yet, unfortunately, despite there being plenty for her to help with.

    Maybe the rain we're predicted to get in the next day or two or three will help uncover her - or perhaps she'll catch a lift on the wind. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

  10. motivation wilts under the hot texas sun. he may show his face a bit in the fall, but he's mostly a spring time friend for me.

  11. As a Wisconsin transplant, I'm still trying to adjust to the Kentucky heat and humidity. I do okay with Miss Motivation until it hits 80 degrees with 80% humidity. Then I wilt.

    I like Adam's challenge for September. Except we have 90+ temps forecast for the next few days. My September planting may have to wait till the middle of the month.

  12. Well put, Carol. I think I get a bucket of Motivation each year and this year the bucket had a leak.

  13. That is one of the beauties of gardening ... especially here in NJ ... you can't wait to get started after a long cold winter ... then your garden is going and you are anxious for that first tomato ... then fall gardening rolls around ... for us it is like a never ending cycle.


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