Monday, July 23, 2012

Tending the garden

Tending the garden- now there's a phrase you don't hear a lot these days. Back in the day, people used to tend gardens because they grew their food. I don't know about you, but I can't even grow tomatoes on my patio without something eating them. Much easier to buy something from the farmer's market or grocery store.

But I've been tending a different kind of garden lately. Flower beds. Or, I should say weed beds. Mine get out of hand because I hate weeding, then when I finally get motivated to "weed" I have to hack the weeds out so the bed looks like it wasn't abandoned ten years ago.

Even worse than my flower beds are the ones in a rental property we own. The first owner and the second tenant were gardeners. They took pride in having a bit of this here and a bit of that there, so there's lots of stuff planted in the beds. Both of them liked viney things that grew up on the trellis and softened the fence line.

The second tenant was ill for a number of years and didn't keep the beds up. Though the recently moved-out tenants kept good care of the lawn, they also didn't pay any attention to the beds. Between the rampant wild grape vines, the Virginia creeper, assorted vines, and sticky bushes, it was hard to make a determination about what was supposed to be there.

I've been hacking out weeds as big around as my wrist. They've been there so long, they thought it was home. Not anymore. They are not welcome and have been pulled up and cut back to nothing.

All of which got me to thinking, how many other areas of our lives do we let slide? As a writer, I know I put off all manner of chores and yardwork with the excuse of I'm too busy to do it now. And filing. I put that off too. I have stacks of paper for this subject, writer's group, research project, newsletter, you name it, its on my desk.

Friendships require an investment of time. So does family. How many times do we put off doing something with a friend or family member because we'll get to it later?

And exercise. How many of us don't tend the garden of exercise? I have the best excuses for that. Exercising is even lower on my to-do list than weeding.

But it's a mistake to forget to tend your personal garden. You can potentially jeopardize your health, distance yourself from friend and family, and isolate yourself in the weeds of your life. No one wants that all the time.

So we have to do better. I'm going to put it on my to-do list. What about you?

Maggie Toussaint
In For a Penny out now as an e-book on


18 comments:

  1. Gosh, so I'm not alone in ignoring the weeds! i just did the bed around the flagpole with its red, white and purple petunias. without the weeds it looks empty.
    Barbara

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    1. I hear you. I don't mind a little clover or some of the other small stuff. Vines are my nemesis!

      Thanks for the visit, Barbara.

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  2. Maggie! There's no such thing as weeds--only "Misplaced flowers." I learned that in a botany class--which turned out to be one of the most difficult courses I took. Have you ever tried to find the male chromosomes in a pistil? I didn't think so. But you have to identify such things to classify the plant.
    All weeds bloom..therefore all weeds are flowers.
    Your could do as I do. Mow everything down. Also, if a bush or tree can't live on its own, it doesn't deserve to live.
    I know.. it's harsh...but I do have prioties.

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    1. Celia, There's nothing I'd like better than to mow this stuff down, but I'd need a bush hog and several chain saws to do it.

      Do sticky vines flowers? Never thought of them in that light. I hate them because they poke me with their thorns and they keep coming back.

      I'm thinking to let the ground cover take over some of the beds in our yard and keep it mowed/trimmed. That would be a whole lot easier than making such there wasn't a speck of unwanted green in the mulch.

      Thanks for swinging by.

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  3. Calendars are my friend. Scheduling maintenance for me, maintenance for the intentional plants, and maintenance for my home. Today the contractors are weeding the chimney and back wall that needs replanting with higher grade materials so I won't have to prune the rot as often.

    I'm learning if I don't maintain me first, everything else slides. If you schedule in exercise, schedule in periodic gardening, schedule in friends and worship, a little effort goes much farther and longer so it doesn't get to the wrist thick vines.

    And this ends my scheduled break time, so back to the manuscript with a refreshed brain. Amazing how I'm writing fairly well around the pounding, hammering, crashing and other sounds of men at work!

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    1. I've been keeping multiple paper calendars, Beth, but I need to morph over to the latest century and go electronic with my calendar to make sure work, home, and play don't get gorped up. One of my shortfalls is that I don't schedule these things I don't enjoy as much.

      I admire your discipline this morning. And now I should get back to work myself.

      Thanks for stopping in!

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  4. I'm trying to ignore the weeds until the weather gets cooler.

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  5. Excellent blog and advice. EXACTLY what I needed to hear! *Hugs* So proud of you!!!

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    1. Thanks, Diana. Always good to connect with you online.

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  6. I've never been able to grow anything but weeds when I lived in a house with a big yard. But I took good care of removing or spraying the weeds, because they had a tendency to spread to our neighbor's yard-- an old cranky man who got very upset when he saw a pretty yellow dandelion on my loan. Now, in my apartment I can't afford the luxury to accumulate things. There is no space, not even under the bed! So every quarter I have to get rid of unnecessary items, paper, clothes...

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    1. Sounds like your garden is your apartment. Still needs lots of tending or the weeds (translation, clutter) will run amuck!

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  7. Judi Toussaint FleminJuly 23, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    So much truth to this- trying to "weed out" the important things in life. Hope we can connect soon.

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    1. Hi Judi, Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to meet up with you again soon.

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  8. I like your post. Quite the metaphor for life. My husband "tends" our enormous garden full of veggies. This has been a banner year. Thank goodness we have water and irrigation in the garden since it has been dry here. In fact we are drowning in vegetables. Can't give away enough. I think people forget how good it is to harvest a vegetable crop, but how fun it is to give away the produce too. Not to mention the rewards of tasty dinners!!

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    1. Hi JQ,

      You're just the kind of vegetable growing friend I like to cultivate. I'm so glad you enjoy growing veggies and giving them away.

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  9. I totally hear you. I have many gardens to tend and it's a term I use. Love your post! There are many applications to life in gardening.

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    1. Hi Beth,

      I can always tell when I'm not tending the garden of life. Hope your garden is carefully nurtured.

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