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4 THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE & How They Relate to Gardening and Life

I have a pivotal birthday coming up… a real life benchmark … so all sorts of introspection and extrospection is going on around here. Close examination of certain traits and personal habits…but also stepping back to get the larger picture as well. Sometimes we look through the macro lens, and sometimes we look at life in the landscape mode. With each passing year, not matter how I look at things, I realize that the older I get, the less I know. Still, there are a few things I can say with some confidence that I know for sure. What about you? (Here's a few items on my own short list and how each relates to my own garden and life.)



examination or observation of what is outside oneself —opposed to


This Boston Ivy in my garden has turned a magnificent color this year, whether up close and personal on this redbud branch in the foreground, or from a bit of distance on the studio wall beyond.

“A person's greatest strength is their greatest weakness”

For a good bit of my life, I wouldn't have described myself as someone who was enthusiastic, energetic or excessive in most ways. ‘Moderation in all’ was my mantra…or so I thought. Now I realize that in many areas, both in my personal and gardening life, I am indeed enthusiastic and demonstrably eager about lots of things. Gardening in particular. I like to think my excitement is contagious - aspirational, inspirational and motivational - as it were. And that's a good thing.

But of course there is a downside to this high spiritedness, and sometimes I find restraint when warranted, to be elusive… in my behavior or in my gardening. You know what I mean: hurtful words better left unsaid; garden pots better left unplanted. Maybe you can relate to my situation. In previous newsletters, I have talked a bit about curating both material things and personal obligations in our lives, and it occurs to me that curation itself is a form of restraint - and hopefully tasteful and positive restraint. So next time I am inclined to nag at a certain someone for being a bit too laid back and not to be bothered….I will remember how this certain someone was also laid back and not to be bothered or even irritated when I left my purse somewhere and we had to drive thirty minutes back to retrieve it.

Sometimes we just need to heed our personal stop signs and practice a bit of self control. I'm working on it…

Just how many containers in a garden strikes just the right balance between just enough for layering and visual interest…and how many are too many and begin to look cluttered and overstimulating. Or is it completely subjective?

“Keeping up is easier than catching up.”

I think most of us would concede the truth in this, especially in gardening. This assumes, of course, we have some threshold or baseline from which we are measuring. (Just where is that water level that we are either above or below…. to get our heads above the surface and keep up from?) Still, a bit of weeding or deadheading every day is far less taxing than an entire weekend after things are out of control. Working each day on that book you are writing is far less painful than a self-induced, stress-filled crash writing session to meet a deadline.

Wrangling and categorizing thousands of photos makes me wish I had come up with a neat and tidy system I could have used lo all these years. A perfect example of keeping up being FAR easier than catching up!

“Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

In my case this could also be reduced to a one word descriptor … procrastination. I miss so many opportunities to entertain, wear a new dress, try a new hobby or make progress on a project because… I am waiting for the perfect occasion, the perfect light, or weather, or time or conditions … to make it just perfect. Perfection is sometimes just my excuse to procrastinate because I am too lazy or unmotivated or insecure to just do something and actually execute an idea or ambition I have floating around in my head. Sometimes I use it as an excuse not to compromise or look for multiple right answers to a problem. And how many times have I killed or neglected a new plant because I just kept waiting for just the perfect spot to place it! Perfection is vastly overrated, and not attainable any way, so why do we let it have so much influence in our lives and gardens?

This tablecloth is a GREAT DEAL and might be just perfect for my Thanksgiving table. Matching napkins are also available.


I am about halfway through listening to Walter Isaacson's book (here) THE CODEBREAKERabout the scientist Jennifer Doudna and her contributions to biomedical research. Fascinating!


I just bought THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY yesterday, and bought extra copies for gifts for my sons. Brilliant and common sense! and Order it here.


I confess to a pre-Thanksgiving seasonal infraction! I watched IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE while I was doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen. Cliche, but I couldn't help myself.


I promised Hubs I'd make Chicken Picatta from this Simply Recipes recipe this coming week, but with lots of mushrooms, I think.

1 Comment

Jan 12

I can totally identify with the procrastination problem. Neglecting to have a friend (s) in because the house needs dusting. Who'll notice anyway if they're true friends. The fellowship is much more important. Also, in order to find things has developed into my simplifying everything I can. I'm 77

and still trying to do everything and have to fight myself not to do too much. I'm so thankful for being

healthy and happy that I really make myself be easier on me. Your wisdom is so identifiable with my life, too. For me being too global with my ideas/thinking sometimes gets in the way of simplicity.

One thing I have to tell you is that when I see photos of…

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