My Garden


A view of our garden from the studio.

This is the time of year when I am usually sharing pictures of my garden and what’s growing in it. Not this year friends. In the almost 5 years that we have lived in our house, this is by far my worst gardening year. At this point, it is just looking very very dead and neglected. I often feel a little sting of sadness and disappointment when I look at it.  It’s been a challenging year in some ways but also a year of growth. Sometimes it feels like there are so many things I am in charge of taking care of and keeping alive, and it can feel overwhelming. My family is obviously my biggest priority to nourish and focus my energy on, so while in the midst of feeling stressed, something had to give. And that unfortunately was my garden.

Because I feel like the way a person gardens can say a lot of them, I have felt very vulnerable thinking about people coming to my house and knowing that I am far from having my life together by one look at my garden. It was enough to give me a little anxiety about hosting things at my house (like the two baby showers that I hosted).  I’ve kindly been reminded by a friend that other people don’t necessarily think like me and that the general population  probably doesn’t judge or overanalyze my life based off how my garden looks. In fact, many friends of mine (mostly the ones who aren’t really into gardening) saw all of the beautiful sunflowers growing in my garden and were in amazement at the amount and size of sunflowers that I had. People were seeing great beauty in my garden that I was being so critical of. And by other people telling me how beautiful it was, it was a reminder to me that I needed to stop focusing on the negative! I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who can find the beauty in my garden, and in me. Because I forget sometimes. I think that we all forget sometimes.

Each year, our sunflowers have spread more and more. We started a few years ago with a small bunch, but each year new volunteers come up. This year when the dozens of volunteers came up in the spring, I knew in theory that I should be picking most of them out so that my vegetable garden wouldn’t turn into a sunflower garden. But for some reason… I couldn’t bring myself to pick even one volunteer out. During the grey spring (when I was also feeling some grey in my life), I just knew that the sunflowers would make me so happy in the summer. So I left them.  The result was as you would expect.. a large sunflower garden, with some pathetic vegetables trying to find enough nutrients and sun to grow. And a person who didn’t have the energy to tend to any of it like I should have.

Though I really did find a lot of happiness in my sunflowers this year, next year I know that I will go ahead and take out some of the volunteers (and maybe spread the cheer to some friends instead of tossing them?). And just so you all know, I am not going to all of your houses wondering the secrets of your soul when I see your garden :). Just as I am often much harden on myself than I am other people. But I am working on that..  and making progress!


sharon - September 14, 2014 - 7:43 pm

Love this picture of you, Kara, and the sunflowers in the background. I agree gardens are often metaphors for our lives, and also agree that we are so much harder on ourselves than others. Thank goodness for those friends who can see the beauty through the weeds and remind us of the good things we have growing too. Lots of good and beauty growing in that garden of yours, Kara :)

kara - September 14, 2014 - 9:33 pm

Sharon, you are good at seeing the beauty in any garden :). That’s what makes you so wonderful and why I am so lucky to have you as a mother-in-law!!