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12 life lessons learnt from gardening


Post the Chelsea Flower Show, mid-supposed summer, our thoughts might turn to our gardens, if we’re lucky enough to have one, however small. For myself, I am what I’d call an intuitive gardener, which is a polite way of saying, I haven’t a clue what I’m doing but I learn quickly from my mistakes. And as I’ve toiled in my postage stamp patch, I’ve had plenty of time for musing on the parallels between life in the garden and life elsewhere, especially on the nature of friendship, and so herewith some of those thoughts, updated from a piece I wrote some two years ago…


The Old English Garden, Battersea Park, London, designed by Sarah Price


1. Something you think is over may simply be resting, but sometimes you have to cut it back to see how strong it really is. And if it doesn’t re-grow, you know you can discard it in good conscience.


2. There will always be those out to destroy your hard work whatever preventive measures you put in place. It’s better to accept them as a fact of life, but never let them dampen your desire to achieve your goals.


3. Growth doesn’t have to involve a lot of effort. It can happen quietly and sometimes over night!


4. Some things need more attention than others, and that’s ok, but you soon learn which ones really give something back.


5. The unexpected can be wonderful.


6. Never judge the potential of a flower by its leaves.


7. It’s important to plant for all seasons of the year. If you focus only on pretty flowers for today, it’s highly likely you’ll have nothing tomorrow.


8. Bare earth is seldom empty. A lot might be going on beneath the surface; sometimes you just have to be patient, and wait and see what happens.


9. No amount of impatience will make anything grow any faster than it’s already decided to do; but a little love/fertiliser might just tip the balance.


10. Plants with deep roots don’t die easily, they’ll sway in the wind, drink up the rain, occasionally get a bit battered, but determinedly keep on growing to see another day.


11. Rain is as important as sunshine.


12. Worms have their uses but wasps just suck.


Hauser & Wirth gallery garden by Piet Oudolf Photograph: Jason Ingram


Text by Michelle Ogundehin, Editor in Chief ELLE Decoration


Twitter @ELLEDecoMO   Instagram @michelleogundehin

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