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Therapeutic weed(ing)


Paul MacCormack

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cdd45936eedfc41ddf0c77f264ee3a5b-.jpgHere at Fox Meadow we have what I am sure is not a unique problem. Back when the course was built the original owner had a vision for a grand clubhouse and grounds. No expense was spared including a large number of elaborate gardens, a beautiful fountain feature, and a fantastic view of the Charlottetown harbor.  Undoubtedly it makes a great first impression of the property, but not much forethought was given to the cost of long term maintenance.

 

Fast forward 15 years.  Our program to maintain these grounds has become basic and straight forward with our aim being to streamline and make things as efficient as possible (ie: no annuals). We spend only what time we can spare on the gardens, keeping in mind the fact that the gardens are an integral part of the property.

 

One of the main features of this austere program involves me doing most of the planning and execution of the horticultural plan. I do it partly out of necessity (we can't afford to hire a certified horticulturalist), but also because I enjoy it a lot. It is nice to be able to check out for a few hours a week and focus on the task at hand. While planting a few new shrubs this week I reflected on the life lessons we can take from gardening. I like to think that these realizations fall in line with discovering solutions to the world's problems when hand mowing greens...

I like to think that these realizations fall in line with discovering solutions to the world's problems when hand mowing greens...

  • Don't go overboard with your garden only to realize later that you don't have the resources to maintain it. Being creative is great as long as you have the means to maintain it.  As with life, take things one step at a time and build slowly.
  • Pulling weeds consistently is a whole lot easier than letting the bed get completely overgrown. When we leave things wholly unattended the only solution is to renovate. In life, when we let things pile up we lose perspective. Getting things back on track is a great deal harder than taking care of things before they become a real problem. If something is bothering you, take care if it and don't procrastinate; problems grow many seed heads when left unchecked.

If something is bothering you, take care if it and don't procrastinate; problems grow many seed heads when left unchecked...

  • Tune into the natural flow of the garden - As with greenkeeping, tending a garden teaches us to tune into the natural rhythms of how things grow. It teaches us to push things, but only so far; eventually we need to learn from our mistakes and start again. Tune into the flow of your own being, keeping a mindful eye on when things get pushed a bit too far.
  • Plants flourish when allowed to grow in the best environment. If you put a sun loving plant in the shade it will become stunted and weak.  It is the same with our employees, ourselves and more importantly our children. If we learn to respect our differences and unique strengths, we can all better realize our full potential.
  • Learn to use what you have on hand in the garden before buying more. Sometimes you have no choice but to purchase a new shrub or plant, but most of the time you can simply make do with what is already present in the garden. Such with life. Take a look around and take stock of what you have before you rush out to buy that next, latest, new thing we believe we must have.  Learning to recognize the abundance ever present in our lives is a great life strategy. We have more tools at our disposal than we often realize.

Learning to recognize the abundance ever present in our lives is a great life strategy. We have more tools at our disposal than we often realize...

  • Patience. Pure and simple patience. Gardens grow in their own good time, and it is only with limited intervention that we can help them along. Learning patience in our own lives is one of the greatest gifts we can cultivate. Life makes a great deal more sense when you are not constantly pushing against the life around you.  Trust and allow.

So don't be afraid to get out there and get your hands dirty. Pull a few weeds now and again and allow life to bloom in due time. Cut back when necessary, expand the borders when needed, and at the end of the day sit back and enjoy the view.

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