Wouldn’t you know it! I was digging a hole to plant a new shrub when I hit a big ol’ rock. I not only heard that clank and “thud” when the shovel hit the rock, but felt the shovel vibrate at the same time.
I spent the next hour or so trying to dig the rock out, wondering all the while why I didn’t just plant the shrub a foot over to avoid the rock. But that rock was taking up the perfect spot for that shrub and I was determined.
After realizing it wasn’t going to be that easy to dig the rock out, I went to the garage to get a crow bar to pry it out. Then I remembered that I didn’t own a crow bar. I briefly surveyed the wall where all the hoes were hung and wondered if one of those hoes was strong enough to use instead of a crow bar. What was I thinking? I would never abuse a hoe like that.
Instead, I hopped in my car, drove down to the hardware store, and bought a crowbar.
By the time I got home, it was nearly dark, so I gave up on the rock for the day. But first thing that next morning, I headed out with my new crow bar.
After another hour or so, I managed to move the rock all of five inches, but that was just enough to notice a little metal box buried under the edge of the rock. While carefully holding the rock up with the crow bar, I kicked the box out from under the rock with such force that the box opened up to reveal yet another folded up piece of paper inside.
With hands shaking, I carefully unfolded the paper and read what someone had so carefully written on it.
“The ninth secret to achieving happiness in the garden is to ask for help.”
Ask for help?
Of course, ask for help!
Many a gardener derives some satisfaction in doing all the gardening in their gardens by themselves. They never ask anyone for assistance. They are proud of the fact that no one else has ever planted anything in their garden except for them.
But doing it all alone can be so limiting.
Have you ever passed up a shrub at the nursery because it was in a bigger container than you thought you could manage? Ask for help. Many nurseries will not only deliver the plant, they’ll plant it, too, for a modest fee.
Have you ever looked at your garden and wondered if there were better plants out there? Ask for help. Ask other gardeners to suggest different plants, to help you expand your planting palette.
Have you ever wandered around your garden and felt like it wasn’t quite right, that it could flow better? Ask for help. Hire a garden designer to help with a design. Or invite other gardeners to come and make suggestions for changes.
Have you ever stood in the middle of your garden and not known what to do next? When should you prune? When should you plant? What are the names of some of these plants? Ask for help. Pay a garden coach to spend a few hours helping you sort out a good “to do” list for your garden or hook up with other gardeners who can help you out.
Have you ever just had some work to do in the garden, like removing a big rock, that you just weren’t strong enough to do alone? Ask for help. There are people who are stronger than you who could do twice the work in half the time.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness and it doesn’t mean you give up control of your garden. Asking for help is a sign that you understand that your garden shouldn’t be limited by your personal strength, your ability to do design, your knowledge of plants or your understanding of plant care.
And asking for help doesn’t mean always having to pay for help. You can offer to help others and in turn, they will help you.
Ask for help.
Like many of the other secrets to achieving happiness in your garden, this one seemed to make so much sense.
As usual, after reading the secret, I took it to the old garden shed and left it on the potting bench next to the other secrets. I most definitely wanted to share my secrets with anyone who asked about them
As I quietly left the shed, I remembered that there were five new secrets and I had now found only four of them. I couldn’t help but wonder, “What was that last secret and where would I find it?