September 20, 2011

From one gardener to another

When I stop learning lessons in my garden…well, I can’t finish that sentence because it will never happen while I’m on this earth. Most of us, if we’re honest, will admit we’re still learning—about friends, family, life, the meaning of life…and gardening (for those of us with dirty fingernails).

I’m not a gardening expert, but I’d bet that even gardening experts still regularly learn new things about plants, planting, and plant care. If you’re not still learning—at any age—why bother? To me, that’s the joy of it! As long as I live, I can still learn (and re-learn) gardening lessons. Hurrah!

That’s also an important goal of this blog. When I posted a “Lessons Learned” item at the end of spring, people seemed to connect with it. So I thought, why not create a quarterly meme—Lessons Learned Through the Seasons! The response has been wonderful—on the meme and through comments and Facebook posts.

There’s no denying the end of the season now—we'll move into a new one on Friday. Thanks to all who participated in the meme! I hope I’m covering all of you here, but if I missed someone or you’d like to add any thoughts, please comment on this post.

1. TS at Casa Mariposa has started posting monthly “GOOPS!” or “Gardeners’ OOPS” after getting the idea from Laurrie of My Weeds Are Very Sorry. I highly recommend these posts—you’ll learn new things and it’s very likely you’ll chuckle, too.

2. Donna at Gardens Eye View always offers words of wisdom. Her lesson in August: Never say never. She found a successful mix of acidic soil and manure fertilizer that worked wonders on her chili plants.

3. Kathe at Kathe With an E chronicles the transformation of her bare lot into a garden chock full of personality. A dramatic example of starting with a blank slate and ending up with a colorful garden haven.

4. Michelle at The Sage Butterfly reminds us that Mother Nature teaches us gratitude, patience, and appreciation. I love her closing words: “Life does not flow along in a stale and stagnant manner, and so, the garden never remains the same.”

5. Dona at La Terrazza offers an incredible macro of a Dandelion and reminds us about the architecture of plants—designed to help them disperse, propagate, and continue the circle of life.

6. Susan at Ink & Penstemon admits her denial about the end of summer (I can relate!). She says she learned lessons in garden structure after neglecting a section of her garden. “Being forced to see structure rather than garden pushed me to accept some conclusions I’ve tried to avoid,” she says.

7. Rose at Prairie Rose’s Garden offers the wise statement, “There’s no better place to continually learn new things than in the garden.” Her post shares multiple lessons learned over the years, and in particular, this growing season.

8. Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys faced the challenge of severe Texas drought this summer. Fortunately, she had an irrigation system in place. She says her lessons are simple ones, but sometimes the simplest lessons can make a huge difference.

9. Christine at The Gardening Blog was one of two Southern Hemisphere participants in the “Lessons Learned” meme. I was thrilled to read about her preparations for spring in South Africa! She offers some very practical tips which those of us in the “northern half” can apply next growing season.

10. Sheila at Green Place was thoroughly creative with her “Lessons Learned” post. It’s visually entertaining, and a very unique take on garden lessons!

11. Lyn at The Amateur Weeder also shares lessons from the Southern Hemisphere—in Australia. Her humorous take on plants having minds of their own is a universal lesson. She shares mistakes and successes, and genuine gratitude for garden blogging friends.

Other gardeners/blogging friends shared comments on Facebook. Joey at The Village Voice says she “still drags her feet/heart/hands, hating to say goodbye to summer.” So well-put! Jan at Thanks for Today has learned to be willing to let go of expectations. I’m still working on that one! Geri at has learned that “privet isn’t always easy to kill.” Check out her website for more lessons and advice.

All of these posts are worth visiting—you’ll learn something new from each one. I also encourage you to check out the comments on the “Lessons Learned” meme. Little treasures of wisdom are found in each comment from one gardener to another. Thanks for being my fellow learners and teachers—sharing your wisdom, humor, and joy in gardening!


  1. I like this meme very much, and, like you, I feel life and gardening would not be very interesting if I was not learning. The summaries of each gardener's lessons just adds to the beauty of this meme. Thanks for hosting, and I look forward to participating in future seasons.

  2. I agree - there are always lessons to be learned in the garden. Unfortunately, some I have to learn over and over! And some are painful (literally!) to learn. I enjoyed this meme, too. I love reading what others learn. Maybe I'll be able to learn some lessons the easy way!

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this - it was fun to reflect back on the last three months and document lessons learned and I enjoyed reading the others' posts too. one of my favourite Menes this was and I'll take part again for sure! gardening is all about learning, every day! thanks so much for starting this and hosting and I love how you summed up all our posts. THANK YOU!!! xxx

  4. Thanks for the great meme, and the summary. There are a few blogs here I haven't visited yet, but now I will.

  5. What a great post. I really enjoyed reading about each gardener/bloggers trials and tributes.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  6. Thanks for the recap of all these posts. I will have to check out the ones I haven't already read.

  7. Thanks so much for hosting this! I still have a few of these posts to visit, so I appreciate the summaries here. After reading others' posts and comments, it made me feel better knowing I wasn't the only one making certain mistakes, especially the tendency to crowd plants. I guess we gardeners want to make use of every inch of soil we have!

  8. @Sage: Thank you. I enjoyed it, too. It so fun to see all the creativity and I really did learn a lot.

    @Holley: Yeah, some of these things are helping me plan for next year!

    @Christine: Thank you. I think it will also help me to not make the same mistakes next year. (Although some of the mistakes are fun.)

  9. @Lyn: Thanks for participating. Good luck with your spring plantings! I'm very jealous!

    @Jen: Thank you. I hope you'll join us for the next one!

    @Carolyn: Certainly! Thanks for joining in!

    @Rose: Yeah, the recap was fun. It helped me to see what a rich, diverse, and supportive community we are.

  10. I hope i can join this meme in the future, when i am back to the real gardening! Your summary makes the whole thing being concise, acknowledged and easier to grasp, kudos to you, and thanks.

  11. I am going to have to reread this post more than a few times as I am enthralled by the photos.

  12. Drat, I completely missed that meme, sounds a good one, maybe next quarter...

  13. I appreciate your summaries of the lessons, and will have to check out the ones I haven't seen. Thanks for sponsoring this meme. Gardening has taught me most of any wisdom I have ...

  14. I saw your note from July-August finally. I left you a message but I can send you some purple oxalis, no problem. I live in Texas and it is one of few things that have made it through the drought.

  15. @Andrea: Thank you! I hope you can join in, too. It's easier than I thought to jot notes about what I've learned during a particular season. And this should help me for next year.

    @Barb: Thanks so much! I'm still experimenting with photography. I hope to get a new camera soon. I appreciate your feedback!

    @Janet: I added a "subscribe by e-mail" option. Blogger recently added an easy design element to make it happen without a lot of manual coding. Thanks for the suggestion!

  16. @Sheila: I really enjoyed your creative post--I can't wait to read the next one!

    @Jeanette: What conditions do the Oxalis prefer? I wonder if I have a good spot. I hope the drought/heat have lifted for you.