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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, March 14, 2008

THE BEST Gardening Day

I guess you could say I’m a home-body. Home is probably my favorite place to be on any given day. Old-fashioned maybe-- but I like tending my garden, cooking a good meal, designing and decorating my home, being with my family.

I cherish a day when I can take my time gardening.

Here's sort of how it goes for me. Early in the morning, my trusty wheelbarrow (same one I've had for 24 years) gets loaded up for the usual tasks. Always a bucket for the weeds I will pull along the way, a shovel, a pitchfork (for adding kitchen cuttings and turning the compost) and, another bucket for sticks and moss I’ll collect off the ground as I go. For certain the pruning shears and the loppers for whatever might need a trim as I pass by. Of course, hand clippers are always available--wedged into my back pocket.

The day might start out with a particular project in mind- usually it does. Almost always these busy days of early spring I’ve got something to plant, to move, to divide, to trim OR to water what I’ve recently moved, divided or planted. On my ideal gardening day the weather starts out somewhere in the 40’s or 50’s as the sun comes up. If it warms up to the high 60’s and doesn’t make it into the 70’s then it really counts as my favorite kind of gardening day. The air is cool with just enough of a breeze to refresh me as I move about from place to place.

These are conditions I can only dream of in the summer but right now, I am soaking up the dry air and lower temps and milking them for all they're worth. Which is what sparks my thinking on this "best gardening day" subject. Because let me tell you, I'll be wondering where these days went in a few short weeks. Oh, I almost lost my train of thought. Back to bliss while I can remember it...

Most importantly on my "dream gardening day"I am relaxed.

I take in the moments. I’m not in a hurry. I 'feel the garden' in a way that centers my soul as I go. I breathe in the glory of every nook and cranny. I take notice of each song sung from the birds that make there way to Hoe and Shovel. My creativity flows as I work and savor every step of getting to the finish.

Interestingly, it's taken me a lifetime to grasp the concept of relaxing and fully connecting with the moment. I'm not admitting I have it fully figured out yet. But I'm getting better at it with the passing of time. All my life, I’ve been project driven and pretty much working to get to the next project -- even while working on the present one. So functioning in this new way I am free to discard the list of to-do’s (shudder) … the so-called have-to’s which --after all …I made up myself. There will always be lists and details that must have my attention. But there is so much more joy in not racing to get every task completed in a hurry.
I don’t take my cell phone to the garden. Do you? I like the fact that no one can reach me while I’m in my gardening world. I figure folks (and family) can leave a message which I do check on occasion.

When I experience a "best gardening day" from morning till evening without interruption I'm lost in a beautiful place. It is truly a peaceful yet diligent place. At the end of the day I am inwardly refreshed and outwardly exhausted. My mind gets restored and my heart is renewed and as nerdy as this may sound I am one with God, myself, and my little piece of green earth I feel so blessed to tend.

What could be better? What does your "best gardening day" look like? I think it's interesting to hear what tools you carry about the garden with you at all times? My wheelbarrow makes many trips back and forth from the front to the back sides of my almost-acre garden transporting every necessary accessory. It is my workhorse. What is it you use for toting things about in your garden?


  1. That is almost exactly what I'd write... if I could put it together so nicely! Cheese and good bread and fruit for lunch sitting out there and enjoying what I'd finished and the thought of hours left to putter. Working on the being in the moment part. My yard's a lot smaller so I do carry the back pocket Felcos (although I just bought a holster) and have my wheelbarrow (about the same age!) with a kneeling pad and loppers but mostly I get what I need when I need's not far to walk!

  2. I have to agree with leslie, this is exactly what I would write. I love the zen moments that gardening brings me. I use the expression 'one with the experience' to describe to others how I feel. I know what you mean when you say inwardly refreshed...I love that feeling. (The physical exhaustion is also familiar.)
    Thank you for a thoughtful post and your photos are great, too.


  3. Oh Meems, this is such a wonderful post. I had one of those lovely days just yesterday. I am sore today too, so I must have gotten a lot accomplished. ha...

    I always have my Felcos in the holster with me. I too carry a bucket for weeds. I don't usually have to get a wheelbarrow to tote my implements becasue my garden is so small I can just take a few steps and get whatever I need. I do use my wheelbarrow for the weeds, especially this time of year when I am getting the big die off cleaned up.

    I don't carry my phone into the garden unless I am going to sit outside and talk. Most people know I don't have my phone on half the time anyway. I am not a big phone talker.

    It is raining here today or I would be outside again today. I have only been out to take the dogs to the park for a walk.

    May you have many more Perfect Days in the garden before it gets too hot.

  4. Isn't it wonderful that when you have a best gardening day and write about it, we can feel as though we were there with you, doing the same? I love your wheelbarrow full of tools method, you are always ready to anything. My perfect day would be just like yours, especially the no rushing part, sometimes it is hard to slow down. Sounds like you are getting the hang of it. Like Leslie, when a tool is needed, I go under the deck to the trusty old grill, and try to put each away after that use, otherwise they get left out, lost and wet.
    Frances at Faire Garden

  5. I love the picture in your header.

    Your perfect day in the garden sounds picture perfect to me too.

    I love the perfect weather days when I can take my time, puttering around doing mindless tasks, basking in the delight of every little bloom. Especially if there are birds and butterflies to photograph along with the beautiful blooms. Days like that are refreshing for body and spirit.
    I don't have Felco pruners, something I must remedy soon. I have a garden cart that has all of my supplies, I like kitty litter buckets for weeds, and I like to sit on a folded beach towel while I work.

  6. Meems, you said it so beautifully! My perfect gardening day would feel very much the way you described.

    I carry my pruners and gloves in my pocket, a bucket with a hand trowel in it, and a knee pad. If I need anything else I get it when needed.

    I rarely bring a phone outside unless I'm expecting an important call, which isn't often.

    There's nothing like getting so absorbed in gardening that time flies and stands still simultaneously.

  7. Your perfect gardening day sounds a lot like mine, only for me the high temperature would be about 65 degrees. I wish I could leave the phone in the house, but the only way I could have an uninterrupted day is when the kids are at school & I have to answer the phone in case it's the school nurse. Which has happened a bit too often lately.

  8. What a perfectly lovely day in the garden and a wonderfully written post about it, Meems.

    I'm with MMD, however, with the temperatures-65 to 70 is ideal !

    If you're old-fashioned because you like your home and garden then you're my kinda gal ! I did the " ladies who lunch " when I was younger and working a 9 to 5 job but I'd much rather, like you, be a homebody.

  9. When you so poetically and poignantly wrote this: "...I'm lost in a beautiful place. It is truly a peaceful yet diligent place. At the end of the day I am inwardly refreshed and outwardly exhausted. My mind gets restored and my heart is renewed and as nerdy as this may sound I am one with God, myself, and my little piece of green earth I feel so blessed to tend."---when you said that I was almost tempted (for the first time in my LIFE) to take up gardening. Seriously, I've GOT to find something that does THAT for me. Beautiful post, meems, and I'm grateful to God that you have gardening in your life and that I have you in mine.

  10. Leslie: Oh I did forget about getting to eat lunch on the back lanai in the cool shade resting my bones for a bit in the middle of it all. I must remember my kneeling pad more often too. Thanks for stopping by Hoe&Shovel.

    Gail: Yes, 'one with the experience' is a good way to say it. One of those things you have to know first hand in order to appreciate! Thanks for your kind words.

    Oh, Lisa, I am so happy you had a day to garden ...and see, that's the good kind of sore... after a perfect day! We have had rain all day here too but we need it so desperately that I am cheering it on.

    Frances, so nice to have you join me in my perfect gardening day. I am really trying to learn NOT to be in a hurry all the time. Enjoy your weekend.

    Robin, Thanks. I'm glad you like the header - it is a photo from the archives of last June. How did I forget to mention the butterflies in my post? They are flitting about in great numbers these days and I adore them. I absolutely get distracted by them on an ongoing basis. :-)

    Lintys, ahhh, the handy trowel- I always have that in my bucket as well. I like how you said "time flies and stands still simultaneously". So true.

    MMD: I am definitely at a different season of my life when all the little ones are grown and gone so I can understand keeping the phone close by for you. I'm with you on the top temp of 65!

    Carolyn, Thanks. I'm glad you liked this post. Here's to all the homebodies left in this busy world.

  11. mlm: ... and if I were to write of my BEST day EVER you would be written in the script! Do you know how I would leap to the heavens if you took up gardening for even a moment and I could share my joy with you?

    Finding the things in life that restore and renew evolve over time for each individual. As you know, it has taken me many years to get to this place.

    You will have better opportunites soon to explore your passions as your life moves along... you are a most gifted and creative girl in so many areas. Thanks for your sweet words.

  12. Tending my garden, cooking a good meal, decorating my home and being with my family sounds like an idyllic day to me, how fortunate that you can have a string of them! I have to take my cell phone in the garden, as that’s my work phone, and of course sometimes when clients call they aren’t aware my I am in the “garden office”. LOL. My most used garden tool are my pruners-to shape plants and to cut out any pest ridden branches-instead of spraying I cut and destroy.
    You certainly have a beautiful garden for your efforts, I like the shot with the cardinal creeper.

  13. I feel 'an old soul' speaking through your posts, meems ... my heart, hands and soul are my 'simple/complex' tools in the garden (3/4 acre ... large for a metro-area). I hate cell phones ~ only for necessity.

    An 'ideal' spring morning finds me with a cup of rich Starbuck's French Roast and my husband (he grinds the beans and makes the coffee), eying the glory (often crystal dew drops on Lady's Mantle) and ferns unfurling.

    The 'Lusty Month of May' makes my heart sing ... huge beds of wildflowers welcome me and since my garden is almost 100% perennial, each morning brings a new delight.

    I follow my heart as the garden calls ... weeding, pruning, digging, dividing, edging, mulching, planning ... hours fly by and I limp inside, satisfied that a good day was had by both me and my garden.

    Wished you lived near to join me in a glass of 'May Wine' and tour my garden in the 'remains of the day'. (Trust that you will end with a memorable 'herb-infused' simple supper)

  14. nicole, I've done the "garden office" many times and know how that goes. Recently that has changed and I don't have to be interrupted. As long as you are getting to garden you can put up with some things in the trade-off. Pruners do seem to be the essential tool.

    Joey- your comment is beautifully written and makes me wish I did live nearby. What a treat it would be to join you in your beautiful garden. There isn't anything Ho-Hum about you, Joey. Here's to your May garden coming sooner than later and you enjoying every minute with your coffee and hubby.
    Meems @HoeandShovel

  15. Beautifully written and we all long for days like "the BEST gardening day". They are too few and far between in this world, with so many distractions and options. But how satisfying it is when we get to live one of those days.

    Those days come for me in May. Does that surprise you?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  16. Carol- ... and sometimes I just have to settle for a few hours of THE BEST gardening. No matter it is the passion I enjoy most so I am happy to do it even in spirts.

    I can imagine that when May comes along for you it is quite divine.
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


Have a blessed day,

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