The idea for this post was born when I read a comment in a Facebook group I belong to. The commenter wondered why there are so few pictures of newly installed gardens.

She said that as a newbie, she wished there were more examples of gardens growing from babyhood to maturity that she could look at and learn from.

That got me thinking, because I realized that I’ve almost always shown mature examples here on my blog, too.

By way of remedying that, I’ve decided to document a new garden I’ll be starting shortly that will connect the meadow garden to the bird hedge. (Right now, there’s lawn between the two.)

More on that to come.

Meanwhile, though, my thoughts took another turn.

Awkward Beginnings

Did anyone else read and love the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery while growing up? And remember seven-year-old Davy Keith, who made his debut in Anne of Avonlea?

Upon being asked how his garden was doing, Davy answered, “Kind of slow . . . I don’t know why the things don’t grow better.”

“Maybe if you didn’t pull your plants up by the roots every other day to see how they’re getting on ‘at the other end,’ they’d do better,” said Marilla sarcastically. *

That exchange between Davy and Marilla made me laugh.

But the truth is, when you’re starting out with a particular vision in mind, it can be hard not to ask the gardening equivalent of, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” when what you’re actually looking at (and starting out with) is this:

The vantage point is a bit different. But the two photos (above and at the beginning of the post), show the same exact garden, photographed three years apart.

What Our Gardens Really Help Us to Grow

No one becomes polished before they’re awkward – and our gardens aren’t that different.

There are some ways you can ease the gawky beginning (planting some annuals among the perennials to give some color in the first year, for example).

Even so, unless you have a practiced professional and a hefty budget to work with, a first-year garden is going to resemble the bottom picture more than it does the top one. You just don’t get instant gratification when it comes to maturity. It’s a process.

So maybe what we’re really growing as we sow those seeds or tuck those new transplants into a bare patch of soil is patience and faith.

The faith that with a little bit of nurturing, we’re going to make it from uncertain beginning to full flower.

The patience to find peace and beauty in the process.

And maybe, just maybe, the harvest we reap will be just as much joy as it is blossoms and berries and butterflies and birds.

And maybe that’s a whole lot better than just okay.

Well, those are my thoughts on the subject, but as always, I’d love to hear from you!

What are the intangibles you grow in your garden?

* Quotes are from Chapter 24 of Anne of Avonlea.

2 Replies to “What Are You Really Growing in Your Garden?

  1. I appreciate the tip to plant some annuals between perennials to soften the ‘gawky’ look. The supposed patch of garden in the front of my house is quite honestly a mess. There is a small hydrangea front and center and 3 lavender salvia on either end of its rectangular shape ..but they are hard to find among all the weeds! I am currently on the hunt for bargain basement annuals at local nurseries to start filling in where the weeds now reign.

    1. Lots available in the bargain bins now — it’ll look great when you’re done! Next spring, let me know if you’d like some little perennials from my garden — there are always lots of babies and if they grow well for me, they’ll grow well for you. If you plant good stuff that’s well-adapted to your site densely (without overcrowding) and give it a helping hand every now and then in its first growing season (I don’t plant anything that’s not forgiving, so occasional help is fine), you’ll end up with a sort of living mulch that out-competes most weeds while adding pretty flowers, seed-heads, etc., in season. ❤️

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