One of my hobbies has been gardening, particularly “low-maintenance” gardening. As such, iris have been a long time favorite flower for me.

When I moved into my current house, one of the ways I connected with the local community was to join the Garden Club. Decades before, my grandmother had been a member of this same club. Although we do talk about plants and gardening, for me the main value was to be able to connect with a small local community to which I was a stranger, although my family has historical ties in this area dating back well over 100 years.

The house I now live in was built by my great-grandfather and is a local historical landmark. All during my childhood my grandmother kept a beautiful garden, but due to her private nature, she never shared it with the community around her. Bi-annually, the local club hosts a garden tour, allowing the public to visit 4 – 6 homes during the course of a single day. About 10 years ago I decided that one day, before my mother was too old to enjoy it, I wanted the yard back into a “show” state in order to be a stop on the tour.

This might not sound like much of an undertaking, but we have nearly a half acre of fenced yard and there was MUCH work that would need to be done. For years I would work on a small section, trying to get it up to spec without ever really finding true success. Finally, just over a year ago, a series of events resulted in us committing to a complete landscape remodel. We took everything out of the yard except for the old trees – those were staying.

This past week, my goal came to fruition. My home was a stop on the garden tour and my mother was able to enjoy and share the day with me. In talking with her, I remembered that I had set this goal and realized that there was much to be learned from this experience.

  • Stating a goal goes a long way to achieving it. People often say that by just giving a goal “voice” you are significantly more likely to achieve the goal. By sharing this goal with my husband, even though we had no formal plan, eventually it took precedence.
  • You never know the path that will be required. The series of events that eventually led up to the yard remodel were not at all what I would have expected. In fact, I would have never DREAMED that we would have undertaken a full new landscaping … ever! But being open to new options, paths and possibilities made it happen.
  • Some goals have to wait. It is rare that all your goals can be accomplished at the same time. And in some cases, time is needed to fully understand how they can or should be accomplished. If we would have invested in the yard 10 years ago, I am not confident that we would have the outdoor area that we now enjoy so much.
  • Every step counts, even if it isn’t immediately evident. Years ago I took a landscaping course and did a partial design for the yard as my final project. Although ultimately we used a professional designer, my plans were the basis of her plans and many of those ideas I had are now implemented in our yard.
  • A slow process can improve the results. Because I had worked on the yard, trying different plants and getting a feel for the area, most of my first-year plantings are doing very well. This means less work in the long run replacing plants that aren’t right for the environment, need to be moved or die in their first year.

If you are like me, you can be impatient with yourself about your goals. But some goals take time because time is what they need.

What is a long-term goal you are working on or have achieved? What are your insights and/or challenges?