Lessons I've Learned in My Garden

My garden is my happy place, a creative outlet. Do you have a happy place?

Life goes on, doesn't it? Our lives have changed so much since we moved to Oak Hill almost fourteen years ago.

I'm not talking about the changes we've made on purpose, such as striving to live a more sustainable and healthy life; instead, I mean things that life has thrown at us.

But life marches onward, and we all need to roll with the punches and make the best of them.

Our children have married and moved away, I lost my dairy goats in a barn fire, and hubby's health problems forced him to retire early. This has been a challenging time and I've struggled a bit, I admit it. My daily routine completely disappeared, and I'm still trying to work that out.

I've found refuge in my garden the past couple of years. I doubled its size and enlarged the garden fence to enclose the new addition. I've added another raised bed or two each year. I'm not finished, but little by little I'm getting there, and the work and the waiting are part of what makes it fun in my opinion. It's been a labor of love.

Fragrant herbs are worth growing just for their fragrance.

One of those projects I'm planning will be a place to sit, think and pray. Hopefully planting mosquito-repelling plants in that corner will keep those annoying bugs away. We've had a lot of rain this year and the mosquitoes are horrible.

After the early years at Oak Hill when my gardens were always completely overtaken by weeds, I learned that gardening takes work and diligence. It's a lesson that applies to all of life, isn't it?

And after years of utilitarian gardens, where only food was worth the space and the work, I'm craving flowers and beauty now too. I've decided that flowers are their own reward, and are worth the space and the sweat just because they make me smile.

My garden is my happy place. Where is yours?

Last summer I decided that if there are flowers in bloom outside, there should be flowers indoors too. Next year I'll be planting flowers that I can bring indoors as well as enjoying them in the garden.

Fragrant herbs are also worth growing, such as lavender, lemon balm and rosemary. Orange mint and chocolate mint don't really have a purpose other than the simple enjoyment of bruising a leaf and breathing in the delightful fragrance.

Cherry cola tomatoes, a new variety for me this year. My garden is an experiment, a creative outlet, my happy place. Where is your happy place?

My entire garden is an experiment, a fun, creative outlet. I designed it, then changed the design, built over half of the raised beds myself, made the compost and dug the soil that fills the beds, decided what to plant, watered and nourished the plants.

It's been an education too. Besides learning how to grow each new vegetable I plant, I've also learned how to cook them for dinner and how to preserve them for the winter. I try to plant at least one new fruit, vegetable or herb each year.

Of course I'm not in charge of the results of these experiments. I don't control the rain or the grasshoppers or the heat or the frost; those variables are in the hands of the Lord. But gardeners are ever-hopeful, always optimistic, eager for the next spring and summer. Another life lesson, right?

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I lost all my tomato transplants to a late spring freeze last year, but I bought more while we were on vacation in another state and brought them home with us.

I know, I know, it's a sickness. You can read about it here. But I wouldn't have tried these new varieties otherwise, so we'll say that the freezing weather wasn't a bad thing.

This year I wisely waited to transplant the tomatoes to my garden. And we had another late frost. It doesn't hurt to be cautious!

My garden is my happy place, an experiment, a creative outlet. Where is your happy place?

Some of my experiments work and some don't, but that's how we learn, right? If I didn't try to propagate roses from cuttings, I'd never know it can be done. If I hadn't tried to keep tomato cuttings alive over half a dozen winters, I wouldn't know what does and doesn't work. Persistence is another lesson I've learned in the garden.

Some of my plants and seeds were given to me by friends and I've given seeds and plants to those friends too. I love sharing my garden with my friends and family, and strolling through my garden brings my loved ones to mind.

I even enjoy turning the compost pile. I really do!

If there are flowers blooming outside, I should bring flowers inside too. Here's why my garden is my happy place.

Maybe your garden isn't your happy place; maybe you don't have a garden or even a yard to make one in. But you can make a happy place of your own somewhere: a corner of a room in your home, the balcony of your apartment, a chair in front of a window where you can watch the birds outside.

Make it a place that makes you happy: hang a bird feeder outside that window and move your chair so you have a better view. Take some time each day to sit, dream and pray.

A garden will teach you so much more than how to grow plants.

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Related Posts:
How to Over-Winter Your Tomato Plants
6 Ways Homesteading Keeps You Healthy

My garden is a big experiment, a creative outlet, my happy place. Where is yours?

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  1. I love spending time in the garden and outdoors in general. The mosquitoes really have been miserable this year. They just started to get a little bit better recently, thank goodness! But I also need to plant a whole lot of mosquito repelling plants around my yard and in my garden! I like my garden, but I let it get far to weedy, so I have conflicting feelings about spending time in there this year. I'm hoping to have a nice, comfortable day very soon so that I can remedy that!

    1. Here's hoping for a nice cool day soon so you can spend some quality time in your garden, Danielle!

  2. My happy place is my screened in deck overlooking my yard and garden. :)

    1. No bugs, and you still have a view of your yard and garden - I love it!

  3. HI Kathi,
    I love your pictures of the flowers. My flower garden is a happy place for me too. I also like to have a lot of plants inside all year long and especially in the winter. I have twitter and pinned. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day. Visiting from Simple Homestead blog hop of course.

    1. Thank you, Marla! Have a great weekend.

  4. Anonymous3:01 PM

    My flower and herb gardens are my happy place too - except when I'm trying to pull and dig up bermuda. ;) Small gardens of flowers, a little herd of dairy goats, a small flock of chickens and the family cow are also my therapy after many years of trails in life - much like your own, Kathi. God is good though, and I have found much comfort and peace on the little farm that surrounds us. I also love your website and have enjoyed your pictures and articles so much! Keep up the good work! ~ Gwen in Arkansas

    1. Hi Gwen. I battle bermuda grass too; it is NOT fun. We've had so much rain this summer that it's still growing in late August. Garden therapy is a great thing though! God is good; you have a blessed weekend.

  5. I DO love my garden, and completely identify with your love of the aroma of mint. So grateful for the bounty God provides for body and soul!

    1. There is always something to be thankful for, isn't there, Michele? I dont have to look hard to see His presence in the garden.


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