All that is gold does not glitter

In my 3 years as a backyard gardener, I’ve learned some surprising lessons about growing food, and about life.

This month, the tattered, wilting cucumber, bean and zucchini plants in my garden are teaching me that success is not measured by a plant’s beauty or tidiness. It’s a lesson I’ve learned before when, year after year, my tomatoes are infected with blight and drop most of their leaves – yet, year after year, the tomato crop is more bountiful than I know what to do with. I’ve even heard that stressed plants produce the largest, sweetest fruits.

Beans and tomatoes

Beans and tomatoes

So as these yellow weedy-looking vines (which any self-respecting flower gardener or landscaper would pull out in disgust) churn out cucumber after crisp juicy cucumber — as I continue to lift the heart-shaped leaves of beans and find long, slender prizes beneath — a smile is on my face.

I am a perfectionist by nature, in everything that I do. The garden teaches me that an imperfect garden isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it might just be success, after all.

(Thanks to my favorite author for the oft-overused reference.)


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