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Can Gardening Teach You Life Lessons? Let's Find Out

Gardening is my newfound hobby. I am a writer, teacher, learner, and mother. I love gardening and keep myself updated with recent findings.

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Gardening is a hobby for many and a passion for some. All of us have done gardening during some part of our lives. I always wanted to have a beautiful garden, well-crafted lawn, prettiest flowers, and scores of healthy vegetables. However, what I didn't want to do was--do it myself.

Well, a big thanks to lockdown, I was drawn towards my garden due to boredom and wanted to explore this aspect of my life to see how my garden treats me.

To my surprise, I started enjoying gardening a lot.

Never in my life did I think, I could learn so much from whatever I did in my garden. Gardening taught me important lessons too -life lessons to be precise.

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1. Nature is Healing

When you start gardening, you first prepare the soil, arrange pots, buy healthy seeds, etc. It’s more like nurturing your baby. I started gardening at the beginning of June 2021

June is a good month to start gardening in India as it’s monsoon time. Wherever you see, you will witness lush greenery. So, with the help of some good books on gardening and some youtube videos started my journey -right from soaking seeds to planting them, painting the pots to weeding the soil, it was fun.

I invested my time in my garden and it gave me immense pleasure. It was therapeutic- made me happy, calm, and content to see the fruit of my hard work. Seeing your plants, flowers grow and bloom makes one realize you can go to any lengths to see them healthy.

During times of distress, when nothing seems to work, try gardening. No need for elaborate arrangements. You can simply start with a single indoor potted plant. Always keep it close to you so that you can talk to it, water it, add manure when needed. Don't worry nobody will judge you or call you insane.


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2. Nourishment should be Continuous

Plants are like humans. They too need care, love, and nourishment.

Nourishment not only signifies watering the plants, weeding them, providing them enough sunlight, giving them manure when needed, spraying fungicide, and neem oils to make them disease-free. Like humans, they too need care, support, love, and nourishment from time to time.

Plants too can sense fear, love, good talk, and even harsh words. It’s a continuous process- taking care of plants only once will not help, they need constant monitoring.

In the same way, we humans too need nourishment in the form of appreciation from others, care and concern from peers, relatives, love from family, friends, partners, and lots of quality time to pour our hearts out, share our problems, etc.


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3. Growth is Inevitable but takes Time

There is no room for hurry. Growth takes time. You cannot expect miracles- If you are planting a seed one day and expecting a seedling the next day, then you are living in illusion, my friend.

It doesn’t work either way for plants as well as humans.

Growth is inevitable. You cannot stop it. However, it takes time.

A plant will grow at its own pace and rhythm, you cannot force it to show growth in your pace. Therefore, have patience and give it time.

Humans too grow both mentally and physically at their own pace. You cannot force a child to show maturity at a tender age. Being and behaving maturely is for the grown-ups. We all reach our milestones at our given time.

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4. Be Responsible

When I started with gardening, I realized I had to give my plants equal time as any other chores. I had to water some plants every day to avoid wilting while others needed to be watered alternately. I was responsible for my plants. I had to take care of them every single day even if I was too occupied with work, lazy, or didn’t feel like taking care of them.

I couldn’t really afford to forget about them, as they too are living beings. They need our care and attention regardless of our busy schedules.

In the same way, kids can be taught responsibility by giving them some activity. Kids enjoy activities and actively participate in them. To start with, they could be gifted a plant or pet and instructed to take good care of it.


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5. Never Give up

While gardening, I made a lot of mistakes. Many plants suffered and died due to this act. I was discouraged, thought of giving up gardening, and end the mess. As many as 10 plants died out of 40 plants I owned. I felt bad as I couldn’t save them but I had 40 more plants that were healthy and beaming with life.

This pushed me to believe I can still do gardening.

Maybe I overwatered or underwatered some plants, exposed plants to too much sunlight, or kept them in too much shade. I had to fix this-- I knew my gardening knowledge was limited. I did extensive research on each plant to find out where I went wrong. I started afresh with the same plants on the same pots where each had wilted away.

Finally, my hard work paved the way. Now all plants survived and looked fresh and green.

As humans, we too encounter problems daily. It would be prudent on our side to behave maturely and never give up. Good things never come easy. You need to strive hard to gain success in any field. So, never give up in life.

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6. Patience

There is a famous saying, ‘Rome was not built in a day. This proverb stands perfect for gardening as well. We cannot reap results in a day. We have to nurture plants like babies and take utmost care until they become mature.

This requires a lot of patience, perseverance, and hard work.

In the same way, human life too needs patience and perseverance to smoothly sail through the hardships of life. At times we become impatient and want everything before time. Everything in this world demands it's own pace and we need to respect it. Patience is a virtue.

7. It’s Okay to be alone at times

When a seed is planted in the soil, it is all alone to fend for itself. The baby seed parents do provide it with sunshine, water, and manure to grow. The baby seed is all alone inside the soil and should build its confidence and strength to emerge out of the soil victorious.

We need our peer groups, partners, and family around us all the time. There are times we want to be left alone without any reason.

This could be a welcome change for us as a human as we can dive deep into the realms of our conflicting mind and heart to seek solutions to our problems.

Being alone at times makes us stronger and helps us to ponder on the real `Me`.


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8. Failure is the Stepping Stone to Success

While gardening, nothing is certain as you are dealing with nature which is unpredictable. So, successes will be accompanied by failure. Many times, you plant something, and due to inadequate knowledge and expertise, the plant may die or have stunted growth. Sometimes, it rains at the wrong time or the sun shines when not needed.

Even after taking utmost care and precautions, plants may die and result in failure. But it should be taken as a lesson, not a failure, and should pave the way to success the next time you attempt it.

In the same way, life gives us enough situations to learn from. It's our prudence to take it as a lesson or regard it as a failure. Unless you make mistakes, you cannot learn from them. Few opt-out of it and fall prey to depression but many take it positively.

9. You cannot control everything

As I was well equipped with gardening skills, I believed nothing can go wrong.

I took good care of my plants, watered them regularly, gave them enough sunlight, weeded them when needed, gave the best of organic manure but I realized I had no control over their growth, fruits, flowers, and seeds, and lifespan.

If we can control everything and predict everything, life will not be fun for a long time.No matter how much we try, some things are not under our control. We shouldn't nag about it but accept it positively.

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Final words

To conclude, I started gardening to escape my monotonous life but in this process got to learn some important life lessons. If you are stressed and left with nothing to do, try gardening, it helps you to heal and make you understand that you are humans after all. You can go wrong too and it's okay. Both plants and humans need continuous nourishment in the form of love, care, empathy, affection to be physically and mentally healthy.

This life skill makes you realize we all meet our milestones at the right time, you have to own up to your responsibilities and not shy away from them, and never give up in life. Plants are great companions, you can talk to them, share your worries and good times, keep them in your room to increase positivity, learn from them all the time.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Poonam Dungdung

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