Monthly Archives: May 2016

Gardening – an always evolving endeavor…

As I write this, the month of May is almost past.  In Minnesota that means we have experienced some of our first warm days of the year; and, for gardeners that means the weeds are growing in full force!

The task of cleaning up flower beds and vegetable gardens in the beginning of the growing season can seem overwhelming.  New weeds crop up and seem to become enormous daily.  Couple this with the removal of any leaves and dead plants that weren’t tended to in the fall (I am guilty of this), and the work of making things look tidy once again, can be daunting.

For someone like me that uses perfectionism as a shield to acting courageously bookand putting myself out in the world with all my faults – read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly for more about that concept   – I want to have my yard and gardens looking perfect right now!

Well, let me tell you – it ain’t gonna happen. 

I know in reality, gardening is continuously evolving.  There will always be tasks to do.  Fortunately, I love being outdoors and playing in the dirt (if not weeding); but, I do need to temper my thoughts and remind myself it can’t all be done in a day.

It is the Tuesday after the long Memorial Day weekend.  For gardeners in Minnesota this past weekend traditionally represents the kick off for the growing season here in the northern Midwest.  Sure, when spring gifts us with nice weather as it has this year, we are tempted to begin putting plants in the ground sometime in early to mid-May.  However, one never knows when a stray cold front will descend upon us and create a frost that destroys what has been planted.  I know this from experience this year as I foolishly planted some lovely coleus earlier this month only to have it die in the cold snap that ensued soon after.  I really should have known better, but my eagerness to get things growing got the best of me.  Better to wait until all threats of frost are gone.

Cutting garden – mostly from seeds which are just now emerging.

My gardens consist mainly of flowering plants.  I do not have enough sunlight in most parts of my yard to get vegetables to prosper.  My cutting garden is the sunniest spot; but, I have just recently learned that my neighbor’s black walnut tree located very near that plot puts out some sort of evil substance that causes tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to not thrive when planted within several feet of the tree.  Those are the very veggies I would like to have.  Therefore, this year, I am going to attempt growing the tomatoes and peppers in pots instead of in the ground to see if that strategy might work…time will tell.  Squash is apparently not affected by the toxic effects of the walnut tree roots so I have planted those seeds in the ground.

Peppers growing in pots
Peppers growing in pots

I could spend a fortune each spring on bedding plants in order to achieve instant flowers and herbs; but, this year, since I am now on a fixed income as retirees say, I am planting many of my plants from  seed which is less costly.  That adds an element of suspense as I wait to see if anything grows.  Fortunately, I am already seeing tiny plants appear where the seeds were sown.  I must admit, it is a very gratifying feeling as I watch them emerge.  I must be patient while waiting for blooms that won’t appear for a few weeks.

I am rambling here (again) so I’ll close.  My objective in writing this was to remind myself to take my gardening endeavors one day at a time – enjoy watching the fruits of my labor, and know that there will always be tasks to keep me busy.  My work will never be done, and some of it will pay off; some of it won’t. That is the intrigue of gardening.

Current bloomers that are providing enjoyment.
Current bloomers that are providing enjoyment.

To any fellow gardeners reading this, I wish you an enjoyable summer playing in the dirt.


Random thoughts…

I’m just sitting here thinking I probably should write a blog post since it has been 3 weeks since my last post.  I have a few ideas but not sure they really all fit together to make anything that would seem coherent.  So, maybe I’ll just write snippets and random thoughts and see what you think of that approach.

Apology to rabbits - they did not eat my tulips!
Apology to rabbits – they did not eat my tulips!
  • Studying Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly book in the Thursday morning book group at church.  We watch a video of Brene discussing her concepts and then have group discussion on the points.  Brene says we sacrifice relationships and opportunities and “turn our backs on our gifts” when we try to be perfect and “bulletproof” every time we walk into the “arena”.
    • Love Brene’s style both in her video presentation and her writing.  She is very down-to-earth and relatable.  Not afraid to use everyday, common language to describe things and make her point (e.g., something “pisses” her off; or, something is “crap”).
    • Daring and being vulnerable – the main topics of the book – are very hard concepts for me.  I know I have major issues with these ideas.  I’d rather keep my walls up and not let anyone see I don’t know what I am doing.
    • Vulnerability is feeling disconnected (e.g., no one else is this stupid; no one else would make this kind of mistake).  I like that definition.
    • Stress occurs when your values are being challenged.  Take time to identify your values and it may help you determine why you feel stressed.  Example:  being thorough in your work may be a value – not having enough time to be thorough on a project will cause you stress.
  • Somewhere recently, and unfortunately, I can’t remember where, I read of a great approach to take when faced with a task or experience that seems insurmountable – instead of saying “I can’t” say, “How can I?”  Saying “I can’t” is disempowering.
  • One of my friends from book group who always has great ideas on how to approach life (Jules, you know who you are!) recently said she goes about considering how to act in situations by asking herself “what is the loving thing to do”.  Great approach.
  • We are all more resilient than we think we are, and adversity is a great opportunity for growth.  A good way to learn how capable we are is to find an activity that causes us to feel vulnerable and embrace it, see how it goes.  Scary, right?  One of my scary activities has been taking classes about writing at The Loft.  There I encounter persons who seem to be much better writers than I am; I can feel really inadequate.  But, I have gotten through the classes, learned a lot, and no one has called me stupid!
  • I try to remember that no one can get at my safe place – my spirit/ my heart/my uniqueness – which was pure when I came out as a newborn baby, and remains pure today.  Obviously, I have messed up the rest of me in many ways since birth, but that original pureness is still deep inside and safe.  This helps me remember I can act courageously and confidently.

So, this is a mess of a post.  Let me know if any of these points resonates with you and perhaps I can delve deeper in a future post (no promises).  Feel free to leave your comments below.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA