I was looking through some old photos the other day and came across several photos I took at Falls Park of downtown Greenville, SC.
I’ve always loved going to parks, botanical gardens, and really any beautiful outdoor space. I especially enjoyed the Biltmore Gardens.
I grew up on a six acre farm, so I didn’t really perceive our outdoor space as entirely beautiful since it started out as a completely cleared piece of land. But as I grew up, the orchard filled in, our transplants from the woods behind our house grew up and the land began to fill in nicely.
However, it was the first piece of property (and only) my parents ever owned so if you were to visit today you would see lots of mistakes. But mistakes aren’t all bad, mistakes can be learning opportunities.
Learning opportunity number one is touring other beautiful and successful gardens, like your neighbor’s yard (with their permission of course) ,parks, and botanical gardens. By doing this you will not only find inspiration to keep plugging through the less desirable portions of gardening to achieve the desired and product, and you may learn some landscaping options you hadn’t thought of before.
Learning opportunity number two is start with small gardens and gain experience from them, then expand outward from there. If you go too big too fast you are likely to make a lot of mistakes that can then become overwhelming to maintain. A good example of this is my grandmother planting about 20 random trees she found and a couple she purchased within 20 ft of her house. She is now passed and those 20 random trees have multiplied and grown to staggering heights that have entirely killed out all the grassy areas of the yard as well as posing a danger to the house due to their vast size and old age.
Learning opportunity number 3 is to learn from others mistakes. This kind of sounds terrible, but it’s not wishing mistakes on other people. It is exactly what my mom always told me growing up, don’t make the same mistakes I did, they’ll be plenty of new mistakes for you to make. That is why I am working on a series of blog posts that feature gardeners that I have been learning from. Which, if you haven’t checked out my first one I encourage you to, I greatly enjoy being a part of some of the gardening communities that have been created around some of the YouTube personalities I learn from.
Learning opportunity number four is to spend time in your garden. Whether you are gardening flowers, trees, bushes, or vegetables there is a great deal you can learn by simply walking through your garden every day or several times a week. I am doing this currently so that I can identify my vegetables and flowers, that I plan on replanting every year by sight. That way if I have a stray seed here or there in the yard I can look at it and say, oh look a radish seed started popping up in the yard. Or, looks like this is where the kids have been spitting the watermelon seeds. Or, I guess I shouldn’t have left that pumpkin so long on the ground next to my porch. Or, it looks like my Black-Eyed Susan’s have replanted themselves in my other garden bed.
I know, if ya’ll are anything like me you want to know everything right now. but don’t forget it’s a learning experience and there’s so much joy to have in little victories that come with time and knowledge. After all, as with any specialty, there is always more to learn no matter how much you know. So, as we should do in every aspect of our lives, be open-minded; you never know what you could achieve with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of go- get-em spirit!
And as always, building a self-sustaining life is not easy, so I hope you find the inspiration and encouragement you need in this publication and to begin your journey to a healthier and more beautiful self-sustaining life.
With love, The Upstate Gardener/Crafter