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It's No Accident

Ever since we moved into our current home I’ve had this vision of creating a garden in one corner of the yard.


For one, we’d like to have less grass to mow.

The bigger desire?

Carrying on something I learned from my parents; the joy of co-creating a visual masterpiece.

Throughout my adult life as I moved from one home to another my parents would visit and help me to create a garden with whatever area I had available.

I have multiple memories of them hauling plants for literally hundreds of miles to bring me a “start” of something from their garden.

When they both passed away within nine months of each other several years ago we hauled plants from their garden and put them in our yard.

A few weeks ago, Sam and I began in earnest our plan to plot out and plant “the garden,” with the red-bud we transplanted four years ago from my parents’ garden as the focal point. Many of the plants from my parents that are currently elsewhere in the yard are being moved to their new home in the garden.

I’ve realized a few things in the process:

· This IS a process and it won’t look like I want it to immediately.

· Every plant has to be placed where it will best bloom (some need more shade/sun than others).

· Depending on its type, each plant will “shine” at different seasons of the year.

· Maintaining this garden will require continual care.

Now you might be wondering, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave it all as grass?”

In some respects, it would, I suppose…. but the reward of doing this work is one I want.

See, I know its potential, because I have my mom and dad’s garden in my mind’s eye. I saw theirs when it was a blank hillside and I saw the transformation that took place after years of loving labor.

Mom taught me a lot about the power of perennials.

I can hear her saying, “When they come back year after year, they’re bigger and better and you just keep them trimmed and watered.”

And when I bemoaned the fact that they look so puny at first because you have to space them far enough apart so they’ll have room to grow she would say, “Yes, they don’t look great now, but remember that first they sleep, then they creep, then they leap.”

Meaning… it takes about three years before they really come into their own and it’s worth it to wait it out.

So, believe me our map includes primarily perennials (we’ve made a killing on end-of-season sales)!

We’ve got a few more tweaks to tackle before the snow flies (i.e. bulbs to sink and more plants to move from other parts of the yard) but here’s where we are at the moment. (click for a pic)

And as I was out there taking quick pics of this initial stage to benchmark progress I also unearthed some unexpected thoughts about growing…. people.

See, creating this garden plan is a lot like working with a team of people.

Because people need to be:

· in the right place on the team so they can flourish (playing to their strengths)

· cared for continuously (by being listened to and knowing their voice counts)

· given responsibility that allows them to stretch and grow (which requires an investment in time and space)

· allowed to have their moment in the sun (recognized for a job well done)

And just like plants…. they may not all make it.

Sometimes you have to know when to say, “This isn’t working and you’ve got to go.”

We did that recently with some iris that had become so overgrown they were choking out everything around them!

Gave some away and…. threw some away.

And yes, sometimes it might be easier to do everything ourselves than it is to endure the challenges of working with a team.

But the other things I know are absolutely true of gardens and of teams?

1. Neither happen accidentally.

2. While there’s no guarantee that everything will turn out exactly the way you’d like, the growth that happens in you because you’re willing to engage in the process… pays off in spades!

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