5 Life Lessons I Have Learned From My Garden

By: Lorrene McClymont

We have lived on a rural property for two and a half years.

When we moved here, my goal was to live more sustainably. This inspired me to plant a garden. It’s been an interesting journey, I have learned a lot, some of which has to do with life and not plants.

Sometimes a Pile Of Poo Is a Good Thing

Sometime you need a whole lot of poo to help things grow. It’s not very delicate, but plants grow best in good soil. Sometimes that involves grabbing a big bag of poo and mixing it through the soil. It provides nutrients that the plants need. Even though it can feel like we are buried in a big pile of cow poo, sometimes it’s exactly what we need to produce the most fruit in our lives. It’s not very pleasant at the time, it’s stinky, dirty, and nasty. After a few months, when things settle, you get to reflect on the growth that has come from that situation. With hindsight you can often see how helpful that big pile of cow poo was.

Everything Has a Season

There is a season for everything. Seems simple right? It’s simple but it’s really important. If I plant summer season plants in the frost of winter, they will die. By some miracle if they survive they won’t thrive. If I expect my tomatoes to give me a bumper crop in spring, I am going to be waiting. Life is the same, we can’t force things to continue when a season has finished. Timing is everything. Things in our lives happen in season. Ecclesiastes 3 is one of my favourite passages in the bible, it talks about the timing for everything under heaven. If something is feeling hard and forced, perhaps spend some time praying about why.

Planning is Essential

Planning in a garden is crucial. When I first started gardening, I didn’t realise that plants produced in season, or that planning was an important part of the process. If I want tomatoes in summer, I need to plant seeds or seedlings in Spring. If I want spring flowers, I need to plant bulbs in Autumn. Without fail, every single time that I try to wing it in life, it doesn’t end so well. You don’t have to be the most organised person on the planet. Some people are not naturally gifted that way, but planning skills can be developed. They help with positive outcomes in a range of areas. Set a couple of simple goals and create a two or three step plan to achieve them. You will be amazed how much difference this will make in your life.

Pruning isn’t Just For Branches That Don’t Produce

Gardeners don’t just prune dead branches. This was a very recent lesson from the bible. John 15:2 talks about how the branches that bear no fruit are cut off. Even the ones that bear fruit are pruned so that they produce good fruit. I have never noticed that good branches get pruned too. Applying it to my own garden, I have pruned branches that bear fruit. It seems counter productive, but the result is a richer crop.

I have been working through an difficult personal decision that involves giving up something good, that I love. I have really been wrestling with how giving up something good could possibly be the right decision. This lesson from the garden, really helped clarify my decision. It helped show me that sometimes, the choice is between two good things. The pruning happens so that even better fruit is produced.

We Can’t Control Everything

Sometimes plants die. There are things that are out of my control, even when I do everything I know how to do. There can be an underlying disease in the plant or an issue with the soil. A perfectly healthy, happy parsley plant can get completely destroyed by a kangaroo (still not over it). Life is like this as well. We can’t control it all. There are times we do everything we know, yet through circumstances out of our control, it doesn’t work out the way we thought. We lose the job, or we get injured, or something else awful happens. What matters in these circumstances is how we walk through them. Do we lay down on the ground and give up or do we adjust and keep moving. Our circumstances are out of our control, but our attitude isn’t.

It didn’t occur to me that I would learn life lessons while gardening. I have a lot of time to think out in the garden. It’s peaceful and quiet and it allows time for reflection. Sometimes we learn when we least expect it, I find those are the lessons that stick.

Article supplied with thanks to Life FM in Adelaide.

Feature image: Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

About the Author: Lorrene McClymont is a Writer and Photographer from the Barossa Valley in South Australia You can connect with her at her website or on Instagram where she regularly shares about rural life, the value of rest and gardening.