Failure Just Might be an Option

The other day, I was reviewing various gardening blog posts and came across a list of resolutions for gardeners from the National Gardening Bureau. One of them caught my eye as worthy of discussion – “I will not blame myself for gardening failures.” I found myself simultaneously agreeing and disagreeing with this resolution.

My first reaction was “Wait a minute! If I don’t water, I get bad results. Period.” There is no doubt that the actions – or inactions – of the gardener can be seen in the health of the garden. Being one who is firmly on the side of personal responsibility, I have to admit that many of the garden disasters I’ve encountered hae been as a result of human error.

But failing to be perfect is not a reason to abandon gardening. In fact, our failures are generally how we learn. I’ve often told audiences when I speak that “Behind every good gardener you’ll find a trail of dead plant bodies.” How very true! How do I know failing to water will be disastrous? Because I’ve seen the results.

Knowing that you’ve made a mistake is the first step to increased gardening wisdom. I saw a great illustration of this in – of all things – a children’s animated movie “Meet the Robinsons.” The principal characters are a family of eccentrics and inventors. In one scene a younger son of the family attempts to demonstrate his latest invention but with disastrous results. Once the dust settles, the family breaks into applause and congratulates him on a great failure. When a visitor asks why they replied, “When things go wrong you learn a lot. When things go well…not so much.” What a great way to view failures!

Getting back to failures in the garden, yes I may have caused them but they are something I can build on if I only see the lesson in it. Did I fail to water? Perhaps I have too big of a garden. Or perhaps I need a better method of remembering this important task. Whatever the lesson, what I must do at all costs is “keep moving forward.” That’s another quote from “Meet the Robinsons.” Its the mantra that encourages the family of inventors not to stop, no matter what the obstacles, because success just may be around the corner.

 So what if I’ve had failures in the garden! It’s not the end of the world. In fact failure is an option we must all live with. Just don’t let that be a roadblock to the next success. Keep moving forward!


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By perseverance the snail reached the ark.Charles Spurgeon
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