3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Gardening

Spending time in the garden is my sanctuary time. I’ve spoken before about the benefits of grounding oneself in the soil, but it also inspires me as I journey through life. Whether you have green thumbs or not, the garden is full of life lessons and spiritual lessons. The garden — indeed, nature itself — is a beautiful reminder of how to grow and bring your dreams to fruition with patience and trust in Divine Timing. You don’t have to be a master gardener to take away these life lessons from gardening.

 

Three gardening life lessons that we can apply in our day-to-day lives:

 

the joy of gardening seedlings and baby plants in soil medium

 

 

1. Plan with Anticipation for Surprises

Growing a garden full of flowers, fruits, and vegetables takes a plan. It’s a great example of the power of manifestation — connecting vision to tangible actions to bring the vision to bear. We map out what we want to grow and where we want to put it all. Perhaps we hire a landscape designer or research plants, sun and soil conditions, and all the tools and supplies we expect to need. It’s very much like a project design for life.

 

And yet the garden sometimes (ok—often) takes on a life of its own in the process. The plants we expect to thrive die on the vine. The plant blooms and it’s not the color we anticipated. We fall in love with a random plant at the nursery and simply must find somewhere to put it in our garden. All of this and more happens all the time in the garden. 

 

It can be frustrating, but this is one of the best life lessons gardening teaches us — that surprises and changes are always part of the plan. When we plan, we must hold onto the plan and the expected outcomes only loosely. If we expect and even welcome change, we free ourselves from rigidity and disappointment. 

 

life lessons of the garden woman joyfully pruning plants

 

2. Patience is Good for the Soul

Once you have your plan, plant your seeds and baby plants. Initially, there will be a period of what feels like nothing. Why? Because we cannot see the seeds sprouting under the soil. The growth of the plant may be painfully slow. With vegetable gardening, in particular, we don’t see the edible growth often for months. 

 

In a world that is constantly speeding up and telling us that we can and should get things instantly, the garden softly whispers to us, “wait, the timing is right and not at your speed, it’s at nature’s speed. Have trust and patience.” Once we calm our expectations and cultivate a peaceful patience, we can bring this sorely needed patience into other areas of our lives.

 

The relationship or job we want may not arrive at our door the second we ask the Universe for it, but our prayers and manifestation work is still bringing it to us. Like the seedlings in the garden, have patience and trust that the good things we seek are in the works!

 

woman harvesting the fruits of the garden

3. Growth is Beautiful and Messy

I always have to remind myself that setbacks are part of growth — they are not a sign of failure. “Mistakes” are part of building a garden, just like they are part of our spiritual journey of growth. I say “mistakes” because the failures, setbacks, and messy parts are not wrong. But we often think of them that way, bringing unnecessary shame, self-loathing, or frustration into our lives.

 

Let’s look to the garden as a guide to change our perspective on growth. A new plant may look sickly or weak as it’s adjusting to your garden. You may lose plants here and there as you find what grows best in the garden. You may even start out with black thumbs on your way to developing green thumbs. Trust me, we have all killed more plants than we care to admit along our way to building our garden. And yet, a garden still grows.

 

As we learn to embrace the change in the plan, we can also learn to embrace that the little setbacks or moments where we start to feel defeated can have a different meaning to us. They can reflect our commitment to growth and to keep going. They can prove to us that while we want certain outcomes, we are more committed to learning, growth, and being in the process.

 

Reflecting on Gardening Life Lessons

Next time you face a setback or a “mistake,” remind yourself that your garden is still growing.

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