Gardening Rules to Live and Garden By

Gardening Rules to Live and Garden By

Recently in the gardening blogosphere there’s been a little uproar over a particular post on a particular blog regarding the particulars of gardening. While I don’t wish to officially enter the fray of back and forth I thought I might offer my thoughts on gardening rules that should be strictly adhered to at all costs.

Garden Rule Number One: Garden With a Purpose

  • Do you garden for vegetables?
  • Do you garden for aesthetics?
  • Do you garden because you like digging in the dirt?
  • Do you garden because you like to design?
  • Do you garden because you want to save money by growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs?
  • Do you garden because it relaxes you from a hectic day at work?
  • Do you garden because you love it?

Pick one, two, or all of these, it doesn’t matter which ones so long as the last one is always included.

Garden Rule Number Two: Stick to it!
Stick with your garden, don’t give up too quickly no matter what anyone says. A garden doesn’t have to be perfect for them, just for you and your family.

Garden Rule Number Three: Try Something New Every Year
The only way you learn to do new things is to try new things! I know that sounds incredibly profound but really branch out and try something – it doesn’t have to be successful. In many ways we learn more from failure than we do success.

Garden Rule Number Four: Make Your Garden Your Own
Your garden is your garden. If you have the time, the will, the energy, and the experience you can turn it into perfection. If not there is nothing wrong with it as long as it’s good for you! Find your garden’s purpose then just grow it! I work hard trying to make my gardens look nice, even the vegetable garden, but that doesn’t mean it always does. Most of the time the garden starts of fantastic, then it gets hot, the tomatoes take off and somewhere along the way the garden turns into a jungle. But you know, my main purpose in the vegetable garden is to add more wholesome, organically grown food that lowers our gardening budget.

And that’s exactly what my garden does.

My purpose is writing this isn’t to counterpoint anything anyone else has said but merely to support gardeners and gardening for any purpose, any reason, and any goal that anyone may have. It doesn’t have to be perfect in the eyes of every beholder. The perfect garden is the one you make, the one you enjoy, and the one you maintain to the best of your ability. Growing a garden takes effort but it’s only work if you don’t enjoy it!

If you’re curious about the debate go visit Mr. Brownthumb at Garden Bloggers to get filled in.


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Good post, Dave. I guess you could paraphrase it by borrowing from the title of a self-help book that was popular a while back: Grow what you love; the garden will follow.

  2. The book, by the way, was titled "Do what you love; the money will follow."

  3. Helen,

    Thanks! That sounds like very good advice. You always have more passion for what you love to do!

  4. Wonderful advice, Dave. I missed out on the original controversy because we were out of town — but I seem to have gotten the gist through your post and Jodi's over at Bloomingwriter. Your vegetable garden looks very nice and neat in the photo, btw. 🙂

  5. I garden for many reasons but the most important one is "just enjoy it" as a dear friend told me.

  6. Dear Dave .. I will have to go over there and see what all the fuss is about .. meanwhile back at the "farm" as in FUNNY farm .. we deal with yet another raccoon episode so I have been very distracted ..
    I garden because I LOVE IT .. short and simple and oh yes BTW I don't garden to impress anyone but myself ? LOL

  7. Great rules Dave! I had read the post you're talking about last week. It went on and on and on about messy gardens. I dismissed it and went out to cut down some grasses.


  8. Try something new every year.

    This is my first rule, I believe. Perhaps it is because I garden in such limited space that I enjoy the diversity of new plants, but I also think there's a lot of "let's see what grows and what doesn't". The main thing is that I ENJOY it. 🙂

  9. Meredith,

    I went looking for an overgrown photo but couldn't find one – I think I stopped taking pictures when it got really bad!


    Just enjoy it is the best advice you can give! If you don't enjoy it why do it?


    That's definitely the way to be! I'll have to go look at your coon capers!


    I did too, then thought why not put in my 2 cents worth. I prefer not to be negative as the original post was. I rarely get over to that blog anyway because of the who negative ranting thing. We get enough of that in the media without subjecting myself willingly to more! 😉


    That's one of my favorites, it sure makes gardening life interesting!

  10. I have a saying..If you're looking for a place to do a Southern Living photo shoot,…this ain't it! But it makes me happy.

  11. Great post, Dave, and such wise advice! A gardener could never go wrong if they followed your lead!

  12. Here's a garden rule I always live by: "Don't stand behind a dump truck filled with manure."

  13. Steve,

    Great rule, although I think you mean more than the obvious Back to the Future Flashback here. 😉

  14. Enter another rule on your "Rule Number One list for us old fogies who don't get around much – Because it gives us a reason to get up out of our recliners and go outside for some sun!

  15. Vita Sakeville West, who developed Sissinghurst Castle Garden in England, once said, "In gardening, there is only one rule — if you didn't like it last year, you won't like it this year. TAKE IT OUT."

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