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What the Garden has Taught Me


Disclaimer: I haven’t always learned my lessons. I slip-up on occasion. But my garden continues to remind me when I falter.

Lesson One: Patience

Okay, you buy a bag of bulbs, spend hours digging holes, planting and watering. Now iris patienceyou step back and you see-brown earth. (Sigh) So you wait for spring, hoping the bulbs are growing and not being eaten by critters, molding or drying out. Finally the day arrives, you go out to the garden and tiny green leaves are poking through the earth. These shoots may look fragile, but they’re strong enough to push their way through asphalt. (Yes, I heard of someone who bought a new house, didn’t know daffodils were there, and paved over them.) As gardeners we need vision, because the lovely landscape you want is not immediate.


Lesson Two: Branch Out

houseSometimes we have to put ourselves in the right situation to grow. I have a tree peony I planted in my side yard. Every year, for three years, I would go out to brush the snow off, put compost around the base and give it plenty of room to grow. It didn’t. At least not until I moved it to the front corner of our yard. (It’s the dark pink tree peony on the right of the picture.) If we never put ourselves in places where we meet new people or try new things, we’ll never reach our potential.

Lesson Three: Share

Sharing plants and seeds makes me feel a bit like Johnny Appleseed. I’m spreading flower bed shareflowers that beautify other people’s gardens. (And I know where to go if I lose a plant.) Sharing also creates memories. When my grandma died, I gave everyone Sweet Pea seeds after the funeral. She’d loved the delicate purple flowers, and now there are many gardens with my grandma’s mark on them.



Lesson Four: Nothing Stays the Same

iris sameGardens change from week to week. I like to capture mine in pictures because the beauty is so rare and fleeting. The year passes according to the flower season. As I’m writing this, roses are making a statement, their varied perfumes reminding me of drowsy summer evenings. Life is a lot like this. We measure our lives by the changes. We appreciate the positive things that happen, more so because of the challenges we face. But we strive to live, thrive and love. Especially love. (The yellow and white iris are called “Wedding Candles.” I purchased them the year we were married.)





Gardener/writer Dawn Ireland believes there’s magic in gardens and stories. Her favorite thing about gardening is capturing the beauty of the garden. When she’s not gardening she sets tales in Georgian England and Scotland, because the time period offered rules to break, Alpha men and elegant women. To see a list of her books, visit www.dawn-ireland.com