- Don’t trust other gardeners. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the yellow flowers my mom gave me, assuring me that they grow easily. They are beautiful, cheerful and lush. They are also TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! I’ve had flowers given to me by other gardeners too. They are always given by lovely ladies with a big smile. But you need to watch out for the twinkle in their eyes meaning that actually they are giving you flowers that they want OUT OF THEIR GARDENS! Okay. Not really. I know my friends were only trying to help me get started. Just think twice when they offer you something that “won’t fail to grow.”
- Be ruthless. You know those lovely yellow flowers? Yep, I have to pull a LOT every year. It seems so awful to pull out gorgeous plants of cheer. But if I didn’t, they would choke out all the other pretty things that I’ve planted, especially those that I paid money for. Those plants never seem to grow easily or just take off. Hmmm… there must be a lesson there. Oh, and mint! Think twice before you start an herb garden. Those, too, seem to love growing in my garden. At least they smell yummy as I pull them… all summer.
- Know when to stop planting. Okay, I haven’t learned this one yet. But it seems like a rule I may need to apply in the near future. It’s just difficult while walking around the gorgeous nursery in my home town. All those amazingly beautiful flowers calling my name…
- Plants grow at different heights. My plants seem to grow much taller than what I’m told they’ll do. Are they trying to keep up with me? Do I exude height to my plants? Lol. I read the labels and listen to those grinning gardeners that give me plants. But, oy! My garden is simply not laid out as I envisioned. This leads to #5.
- Decide if you want a manicured look or an artistic look. Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, artistic. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our household. I love things to be artistic, asymmetrical and homey (also known as a bit out of control). But the other person in the house, who won’t be named but is extremely handsome, likes things to be organized and neat. I look at my flower garden and see bright colorful flowers with butterflies flitting about. He sees the mismatched plant heights and the weeds. This has yet to be resolved.
- Water is a must. Recently, I was having a conversation with my 5 year old granddaughter discussing the merits of water. She had a hard time believing me when I said we couldn’t live without it. But it’s true! Make sure you drink a lot of water while gardening. I know as you persistently weed and pull out that mint that the sweat falling off your face lands in the garden, but your flowers need water too. Lots of it. This may be a problem if you travel. You’ll have to make friends with other maniacal flower gardeners that are willing to water your jungle, I mean, garden oasis, while you gallivant.
- If it grows abundantly, it’s a weed. This is one thing that still befuddles me. Of course, I’ve only been attempting this gardening thing for 3 years, but each spring I am totally confused as I stare into my garden. Which one of the green things growing is a flower that I want to keep and which is a mean old weed? I’m still trying to figure this one out. I suppose as I continue this project, I’ll get to know my plants. But, today as I tried to make sense of the mess that confronted me after being away for 2 months, I decided that if it looked like it was growing easily that it was most likely a weed. Either that or it was one of those plants from my lovely gardening friends.
- Gardening gives you something to talk about. I think there is a secret bond between flower gardeners. We know that to those that don’t garden, we seem amazing. I mean, look at those beautiful flowers! So, when gardeners get together, secrets are shared: what’s growing this year, how to kill those bugs, and what the bunnies are eating. And when you are around non-gardeners, they admire your attempts and ask all sorts of questions you may or may not know how to answer. Either way, it’s a fun topic.
- It’ll be messy, but worth it. I don’t like to get messy. I hate it when my hands are dirty. This makes being an artist interesting and I have to battle it all the time. So, with gardening I get the best gloves I can find, but I still get dirty hands. Ugh. Isn’t that how life is, though? It seems everything worth doing is messy. And gardening, dirt under my nails and sweat on my brow, yes, those flowers and butterflies are totally worth it.
- Don’t give up. This gardening thing is quite a teacher. I thought my mom had it completely figured out. Her amazing garden brings joy to all that see it and it is the complete inspiration for my efforts. Yet, every year she tells me new things that she is learning from her garden. So, I think I’ll keep plugging away at my messy, out of control, oasis of beauty. It has much more to teach me!
Hope you enjoyed all the photos of butterflies that I have taken in my garden. My garden looks a bit wild, but the butterflies love it! What has your garden taught you?