Life Lessons from the Garden

Twenty five years ago a number of life changing events happened in our family.My first nephew was born, I left home, my sister moved to New Zealand and my Mum and Dad also moved home.

Mum and Dad bought a field and built a house.

Even though the house has never been my actual home, it feels like home. Dad built it, and when I’m there I often ponder on the wonder of him doing that, digging the foundations, laying every brick.

As Dad built the house, Mum began creating the garden.

In retrospect Mum says she could have made the task a whole lot easier by having the field turned over with a plough before she started.

What Mum actually did was walk out into the vast space with a shovel, and begin digging.

She would spend hours each day just to turn over a tiny piece of ground to prepare it for planting and grass.

The first year was dedicated to preparing the ground for the next year so she would be able to plant.

The next year she planted, and the next year she planted more.

It was probably about three years before what she had first created in her minds eye became a reality.Finally  she could actually see in the real world what she had created in her imagination.

It is a beautiful garden, and continues to keep her busy and bring her joy.

It brings me joy when I sit in it, and I often think of her out there twenty five years ago with her shovel appearing to have achieved nothing after three hours of hard work and digging.

Because Mum had a clear picture of what she wanted every day was worth it, every hole she dug was worth it.











In life when we can see what our end result is in our minds eye it makes all the hard work in advance worth it.

With a garden, patience is required as nature has to do it’s thing and won’t be rushed.

This is the same with everything we set out to achieve though isn’t it?

We keep on taking steps, we keep on moving forward, and eventually we can see what it is we set out to achieve.

Without the vision though, it would be easy to throw in the spade, and give up.

But what if you find it hard to have a vision, what if you can not picture what it is you want five years from now?

Our second garden.

Last week I was speaking to my sister Vicki who as I said lives in New Zealand.

We were chatting about how many people who have opted to live in another country or away from home often find it challenging to lay down firm roots of the future in the place they live. My partner is from another country and I can see he has real challenges in this area.

Vicki described to me how it was for her when she was first in New Zealand. When she wasn’t sure she was going to stay and interestingly her story involved gardening which is not a surprise as Vicki has inherited Mum’s gardening gene.

Vicki explained that for the first couple of years she could not even think about gardening, because her thoughts were always that she may not be there in a years time. She just found it too hard to think that far ahead without feeling the wrench to come back to the UK.

After a couple of years she allowed herself to plant pots ,but, she said she could only plant seasonal flowers, she could not plant anything which might not flourish for a year or two as she may not be there.


It took Vicki five years before she began considering planting anything which was going to be established. Even now she says she continues to miss home and long term visions are not an option for her.

It is no coincidence that gardening is very much like life, we plant the seeds and wait for them to grow. Just like we can plant the seeds of our goals and take steps to make them happen.

I know many people who find thinking long term a challenge. I have explained only one reason here why that might be.

If you have challenges with creating long term visions of what you would like life to be like in the future, start with making very small short term goals.

‘Plant Pots’

Start with very short term goals, imagine one month from now, or three months from now.

Vicki started off with seasonal plants that looked fantastic immediately, before she progressed to the vision of the garden one year or five years from now.

Mum had the long term vision which she knew would take years to achieve and took small actions each day to create it. It was easier for Mum, she knew where she wanted to be five years in the future,in the house that Dad built.

Of course in the gardening world nowadays we could just pay someone to come in, and create the garden of our dream in a couple of weeks, if we had the vision and the money to do it.

This is not always the same for the goals in life we may have, such as creating a successful business, having loving relationships, becoming a qualified dive instructor, mastering the Ukulele , all of these take time, patience and work.

But when you sit down in the sunshine and look out at what you have achieved, what you have learnt and what you now know is what makes every step worthwhile.

If you would like support in taking those steps forward to your short term or long term goals, get in touch.

The LIPSTICK Principles hold the key to your success.


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