Life Lessons from Gardening

It may or may not be true, but I suspect I am partial to one side of my front garden bed. Weeding usually starts on one side, my photographs are taken from one side, and I seem to appreciate one side more than the other.

Today, whilst I weeded, I happened to look up when I was on the “other side” of the garden. Wow! I was gifted with a beautiful sight! My thought was that I should stand on this side of the garden more often and appreciate its beauty from this perspective!


Then, it struck me! Maybe we all need to take a moment to change perspectives. You know – look at issues from another side – maybe even the side of the issue on which we most vehemently disagree. Just for a moment, look from another point of view, such as I did in the garden this morning.


There were many applicable similies.

For instance, having a beautiful garden requires work. And work requires us to look at the same projects, issues, and problems from various perspectives. You might be surprised by what you think after you observe from a different angle.

Sometimes, weeds creep in. Weeding.  It is part of the work of maintenance. But to weed well, one must know what are the true weeds and what isn’t and would make a good addition to your garden bed. It’s not up to you to decide. Science has already decided that for us. We know that the plants that we should care for are native plants – those that have grown in that spot all along – through the millennia.  We know which plants survive in our climates, soils, and care. Some of this is learned through the personal experience of trial and error.

Sometimes, however, weeds become much valued plants – if given time and information. This pertains to my experience with milkweed. When first growing our monarch habitat, garden club students and I explored how essential this plant was to sustain the monarch’s life cycle. I sent home seeds and seedlings. Parents were aghast! Why is your teacher sending home this? “It is a weed,” most exclaimed fifteen years ago!  Well, times and perceptions change.  With education and increased understanding, now those same families know the importance of the milkweed plant – “a weed” – for monarchs and actively grow it instead of “getting rid of it.”


My point? Give yourself a chance to understand what you might not about an issue. Read something other than that which appears on your social media feed or from a news outlet you usually consume. Read another opinion! You might learn something.

Another observation from my garden? Sometimes weeds or “unwanted” plants blow in without being invited, and take root under the guise of being beautiful or seemingly attractive!  This was the case with a pretty flower I found in my yarrow this year. Where it came from, I do not know, but there it grows. It’s pretty and that makes it seductive. But, I’ll pull it out. It will hinder my work if I let it go. It will grow and permeate the plants that I’ve worked to maintain – mostly native plants. Be careful of what blows in on the wind – the wind of the media, propaganda, and unproven (biased) opinions.

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Sometimes plants go crazy in the garden and grow with an intensity beyond where you intended. I was able to observe this today, as well. Two years ago I bought some Spiderwort plants. They have taken hold and quadrupled in size, even though I have not actively encouraged their growth. This might happen in life as well. Ideas, opinions, thoughts, and even knowledge can grow if we let them. This can be both good and bad.

Today, my husband was appreciative of my efforts in the garden. He usually does most of the yard work. But, I feel I need to help outside more. I love the beauty of the gardens, so I should put in some of the work.


As I finished my weeding, many thoughts were sprouting in my head about how gardening is a lot like life. You need to care for the seeds and plants you put in the ground, but it is never too late to recognize that something is growing where it shouldn’t if we take the time to look from a different perspective. Time needs to be spent weeding out our misconceptions, our biases, and examing upon what wind they blew in to take root in our garden.  If we never examine the garden from another perspective, we won’t truly understand what grows there.



2 thoughts

  1. Carol, there is so much here that resonates with me–thank you for sharing it! Gardening is a perfect metaphor for so many aspects of life, and you highlighted many of them perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the fact that you can relate to this post! There were many other aspects of the garden that I thought related to life but I thought of them after I finished the piece. It might be something worth exploring further. When I was in grad school for my EE degree I took an Advanced Ed Psych course through the College of Education and enjoyed it. One of the things we had to do was come up with a metaphor for our lives. It was a difficult yet fun assignment!


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