I am a control freak with a capital C.F. I generally try to plan most things out in my life, though in true Gemini fashion, I make the most important decisions of my life without much thought. 2013 was supposed to be the year that my natural fences took shape. The climbing roses would weave themselves through the lattice on top of my new fence. The viburnum I moved would grow and thrive and block out the new homes built down the street. Clearly, nature had other plans, as all of my roses contracted rose rosette disease and had to be ripped out. My viburnum was plagued with some mystery pest and looked dead, then half-dead, for most of the year. I am left wondering if my viburnum will make it in 2014 and had to come up with a plan B for the fence. I really did take it in stride, though, because what else can you do when Mother Nature laughs and throws you the middle finger? In any case, at least I got a nice picture out of it (before I ripped the roses out). And it's sort of fun getting to plan things all over again. Waiting to see if bushes really are dead? That's tougher, which leads me to...
This lesson has come to me the past two years. It will be a long time before I make good progress but I'm getting there. I have a tendency to want things to be Martha Stewart-ready right now! But 2013 was the year I subconsciously decided to be nicer to myself - to let myself relax when I wanted and to not be so tough on myself that everything isn't so perfect all of the time. This translated to taking the entire summer to dig up sod in the side yard and needing to be okay with something that was a work in progress for months.
It also meant I said "no" when Neighbor M persisted in asking if she could help me dig up the front yard to do something with it because I wasn't ready (even though I think the front yard looks like crap!). It means that a lot of the plans and ideas I have in my head stay there for awhile or that projects are done in stages. Would it be nice to have everything "done" (I say facetiously, as a garden is never done)? Yes, but most of the fun is the planning and the doing.
Patience and pacing are intertwined. The mania of spring garden chores has led to summer burnout for me every year that I've had the garden. Every year except 2013, that is. I made it through the entire year without wishing it was already over. Part of this was thanks to patience - giving myself permission to take things one step at a time. Part of it was giving myself permission to stay indoors when the disgusting humidity appeared in July and August, even if it meant my weeds were getting out of control. Part of it was that I had a lot of other things going on my life and the garden wasn't the main focus. 2013 kicked my ass in a lot of ways, but gardening burnout wasn't one of them. I'll need to keep this in mind in 2014, as with close to a foot of snow on the ground, I'm ready for spring and the onslaught of gardening chores!
I'm looking forward to the lessons that 2014 has in store for me!
How about you - do you feel you learned anything from your garden or from the act of gardening last year?