I admit that I often look to beautiful gardens for planting inspiration. That might come from a perfect combination of colors, the soft curves of spring garden, or the excitement of seeing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds gather around native plants. Gardens can teach us so much about the natural world.
That’s not the only thing a garden can teach us, however. And when it comes to garden planting inspiration, it sometimes benefits us to look beyond what’s in the ground and look at what’s in our heart.
That’s the theme in today’s story, My New Year’s Garden, by Lisbeth Ann Williams. In this thought-provoking reflection on New Year’s resolutions, Lisbeth encourages us to think about what we plant in the garden of our lives. Have we nourished the seeds of anger, resentment, and criticism? Can we pull those weeds and replace them with the seeds of harmony, kindness, hope, and enthusiasm?
Speaking for myself, I could certainly benefit from considering the lessons here, not just at the turn of a new year or as a brief moment of making resolutions, but as an ongoing activity. After all, just like gardening and tending our plants, tending our life takes some work and attention. And in this case, the harvest is practically guaranteed to nourish our bodies and souls. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did!
Discover a New Source of Planting Inspiration to Improve Your Garden and Your Spirit
This story comes from our archive spanning over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
My New Year’s Garden
By Lisbeth Ann Williams
As we grow older, New Year’s Resolutions are apt to become more important to us. The accumulating years begin to press down upon us, bringing acute awareness of our mortality. So we reflect on the previous year’s disappointments, consider those things that we have put off, and contemplate new possibilities—especially if we’re gardeners. Indeed, once the Christmas decorations have been stored away and the seed catalogs start to arrive, I find myself starting to ponder …
I planted too much anger and resentment last year, so this year I will replace them with some tolerance and patience. I really could have used some more enthusiasm, too, so I will add a little extra this time and plant it next to the hope. I have always wanted to cultivate laughter, and I have the perfect spot right next to the lighthearted expressions.
Perhaps I should thin out the tears. I really don’t need very many of those. And, you know, I never really liked the frustration— it’s so invasive. I think I will replace it with harmony. I didn’t care for that variety of judgment, either. It’s casting a shadow over the kindness. It does complement the blame, but the other plants that are near it are not doing well. I will move them both to that far corner, and be sure to keep them pruned back. I should probably move the criticism back there, as well.
A person could never have too much peace, so I will order twice as much this year. I will add a couple more varieties of love and put them right here in the front, so that I can smell their fragrance whenever I walk past them.
There. Now I can place my orders. This catalog says that if I place an order of $20 or more, they will send me a free good will bush. It would look so pretty, tucked in between the peace and the harmony. Now if spring will just hurry up and arrive.
I’d better not wait, though. I will start these seeds right away. I’ll begin them inside, to give them—and myself—a good start on the New Year. ❖
By Lisbeth Ann Williams, published originally in GreenPrints Weeder’s Reader. Illustrated by Jennifer B. Lume
Where does your garden planting inspiration come from? Do you try to plant any of the “seeds” in this story?