Some things I've learned as a first-time gardener. . .
It's easier to pull a weed before it's been growing too long. There are weeds that I can pull up by the top and still get all the roots, but only before they've had a chance to develop flowery vines that twine themselves around the iris leaves. It only takes about two weeks more growth to make pulling the same weeds into an ordeal that's no fun at all.
This teaches me: Bad habits are easier to break before they've become too much a part of life. I keep slipping off diets because I never got into the habit of eating well and exercising regularly.
Once you let things get away from you, it's almost impossible to catch up with them. I didn't let the yard get overgrown on purpose, but if I'd been working on it all winter, it might not have been so difficult to get it under control this spring. Now that I've paid to have the weeds mowed down, it should be easier to keep them down.
This teaches me: If I ever get caught up with my filing, I should make a special effort never to get that far behind again. The piles of papers all over my house (not just in the office area) are a disgrace, a testament to my slacker ways.
You have to pick your spots. If I don't decide ahead of time where in the yard I'm going to work, I'll find myself wandering from here to there, wherever I see something that needs doing. That way lies madness, because no area ever looks as if it's been weeded. This is true even though I work long, back-breaking hours. If I'd concentrated on a particular area and done the same amount of work, I'd be able to see some results.
This teaches me: The "to do" lists I used to make all the time were an effective way to get my work done without missing important tasks. It's easier to cross something off and move on to the next item than to try to do everything at once.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few flowers to get rid of the weeds. And it's often worth it. Even when I have to clear out a whole section of the garden just to make sure the weeds are gone, plenty of flowers are left, and the cleared part is ready for new growth.
This teaches me: I can't have it all, and if I don't try, I might enjoy what I do have more.
No matter how much you do, there's always more that needs to be done.
This teaches me: No matter how much I do, there's always more that needs to be done.