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How does your garden grow?

I heard an interesting idea on a podcast the other day. It was an interview with a gardening coach (yeah, I had no idea that was a thing either), who had a theory that people’s approach to their garden was also how they approached their life and business.

I guess you need to be into gardening for it to make sense, but this was my take on it.

I love gardens. I look at other people’s gardens, I like to come up with ideas for my own, and I always complain that there’s just not enough time to do anything about it…so I don’t really do anything. I start seeds and buy plants, then take ages to decide where to put them, and again to get them in. I have a few weeks a year where I go hammer and tongs, then it gets too much or I get distracted and the cycle repeats.

When I do have a success, like I finally get something planted, all I can then see are the weeds and the bits I haven’t done.

I want to plant something, but I can’t have it because I haven’t got a wall in that orientation, or the right kind of soil, or don’t live in the right climate.

Round the corner from my house there’s a place that gives me serious garden envy. Even in the winter it looks fabulous, but now in late spring it’s a riot of colour and variety. It’s beautiful. Why can’t I get mine to look like that? Well, because, when we bought this house six years ago the house itself needed a ton of work, then we got a dog, then we had a baby. I happen to know that the lady who lives there has owned the place for at least 30 years, lives on her own (oh the things I could do!), and her adult children are long gone.

So, instead, look what we have achieved. We cleared a bunch of tradescantia (one of the most evil, ineradicable, and invasive weeds known to horticulture), we put in two raised beds, we trimmed some trees, we planted new ones, we got rid of all the fan palms, we pulled out the privet and alpine ferns, we started a native garden, and we tidied up the terraces of weeds out the front. We learned more about what will grow well and where and have a plan of what to chip away at going forward. We also know that it will never be truly finished, and the mutability of it is what will keep things fresh and alive.

And if that’s not a metaphor for growing in business and life, I don’t know what is.

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