Not Your Typical Garden Story

It might not come right out and sound like a garden story, but this sage advice will carry you through many planting seasons.

It’s hard not to think about life and death in the garden because you’re witnessing it over and over throughout the growing season. My garden story is that each year I plant a number of perennials in the flower gardens hoping they stay bright and alive all season long in one way or another, but each year I discover a “dead” couple of weeks where all I see are petal-less plants, and spiky insides where pollen used to lull the bumblebees to sleep. And so, I fill them in with plants that are currently blooming at the gardening center.

But that disappointment pales in comparison to the growing seasons, when seedlings are starting, when tomatoes are growing red, and when I can make a bouquet of at least fifteen different flowers for my daughter’s preschool class. I look forward to those times the most.

I think that’s why today’s piece was submitted, though it’s not a typical garden story. Today’s piece, “Die 10 Years Ago?” sent in by subscriber William Duchie of Brandon, TX, doesn’t have a lot to do with gardening, but, like his dad, I wanted to share it.

More Garden Stories for your Soul

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn gardening humor into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Die 10 Years Ago?

By William Duchie of Brandon, TX

Many years ago, my father, in his early 80s, shared an experience with me that he had with his physician during his annual physical:

Dad was complaining about his declining health and all the things he was suffering from. After listening to my father for a reasonable amount of time, the doctor said, “You know, Joe, you could have avoided all this if you’d died 10 years ago while you were still in good health.”

When my father shared this with me, he concluded, “I got the point and got it good. Better to enjoy what you’ve got than complain about what you don’t.”

I’m now 82 myself and, between three strokes and overall decay, I know first-hand that bodily infirmities multiply with the passage of time.

And remembering my father’s words, I make sure to enjoy every day.

Sent in by subscriber William Duchie of Brandon, TX. It doesn’t have a lot to do with gardening, but, like his dad, I wanted to share it.

By William Duchie of Brandon, TX, published originally in 2021, in GreenPrints Issue #127. Illustrated by Christopher Reid

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Did this remind you of a similar garden story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear it. 

  • Thanks for this snippet of wisdom. I needed that reminder to enjoy what I have and not complain about what I have not – a perfect garden and perfect health..


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