“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
–   Charles Dickens

It is the end of February and tomorrow is the beginning of March.  We are that much closer to spring, the time to thaw out and come out of hibernation.  To say it has been a long winter is putting it mildly, especially with the long, dark, cold and very snowy December we had.  One day of thaw on January 1 was the only time I saw my garden.  Well it is Garden Bloggers Muse Day tomorrow.  In honor of this time when we can see birds returning and early bulbs blooming, I thought I would pick an appropriate muse and display a favorite picture of mine of snow crocuses that bloomed last year.  And having crocus this time of year is perfect given their meaning-youthful gladness; mirth.  I am filled with that youthfulness; the feeling of being born again; happiness and glee.

But that glee is marked with risk.  We take a risk each spring as we are born anew and especially as gardeners.  We risk it all as we plan and plant and hope our plants and veggies can make it through the weather.  Through the lack of water or too much water from a fast and early melt.  The risk of pests and fungus that would take our precious plants quickly and without warning.  But we know we cannot have the beauty and the harvest without the risk.

Since we know the risks, we prepare for them as best we can and then we accept the consequences.  Sometimes it is starting over and sometimes it is letting go.  My first time growing tomatoes I was hit with an early blight and that was it…I had to accept it no tomatoes that year.  Last year my basil succumbed to a blight, but I was able to order basil from outside the area and salvaged one plant.  It helps to gain knowledge to help avoid risks or be prepared for how to deal with what Mother Nature dishes out.  Two bloggers who have been instrumental in helping me take more risks in the vegetable garden are Diane Mumm’s Greenhouse Gardening and Gardening Jones.  Both have tremendous knowledge that they share to help with planting vegetables.  Visit their websites to find a wealth of information.  Armed with this knowledge I find I am able to take more risks without the fear.

So it goes in our lives as well.  It is all about taking risks.  Our relationships come with risk.  How do we know that we can trust this person who is our friend or our lover.  We only know by digging in, getting to know them and taking the leap.  It is recognizing the consequences of that risk that helps.  Again do we stay or do we go?

And then there are the inner risks; being able to push ourselves to be who want to be or do what we want to do.  This blog was born out of the need to finally take a risk, and it has paid off ten-fold.  I have been writing some memoirs that have been recognized and one was a winner.  And I also have written poetry to be placed in a wonderful anthology of women writers, Reflections from Women.  On March 1st those chosen will be announced.  I was lucky enough to find out in advance that both my poems on grief were chosen for publication.  The book has not yet been titled, but it will be published in May, 2011.

Now I find myself taking an even bigger risk.  Beginning a business is a huge risk and one I have obsessed over.  Am I really sure this is what I should do?  Do I have the stuff it takes to make it happen; to make it a success?  Do I have the talent and know-how?  Others believe I do, but it is more about what I believe and that changes daily.  I look around, I read about others who are in the garden design business and I think, no way…they have so much more talent…who do I think I am kidding…and yet these are the same people encouraging me, not scoffing but saying good luck and let us know how it is going…

But I am realizing a few things about risk…it is fear…pure and simple!  And I am determined not to fear life. Yes I struggle with this whole concept of being my own boss, of owning this new business.  It is much like any struggle I have in my life.  Some days I swing forward on the pendulum of life and move into a new enlightenment; I make changes as I move on my path.  But then there are those dark places I have traveled from that I find myself back in and wonder why?  And the answer is as simple as that is life.  We think we are done with something, but then it shows up again to challenge us to make us grow even further.  So we just recognize it, accept it happened and then we move forward again.  Not taking it too much to heart is how I have lived with these journeys back in to the dark.  And then as I move forward, I think about what makes me happy, grateful, fulfilled; what is my bliss?  Finding these blissful things in life helps us move forward and define our essence even more.

Gardening is my bliss.  Sharing my knowledge and designing gardens for me or someone else is my bliss.  So I am taking the ultimate risk by following  that bliss.  Please join me in my new venture–Purple Door Garden Designs.

I challenge you to take a risk…whatever it may be…do it…you will not be sorry…you will know if it is right…you will feel this incredible feeling in your belly…listen to it..it is your intuition..your inner guide telling you..GO FOR IT!!  And by all means have fun!!!

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

~Anaïs Nin


  1. Donna says:

    I enjoyed your take on risk, and by all means jump in feet first. Congrats are in order on two fronts; your poems being accepted for publication and your business. I wish you the utmost good tidings in both endeavors. You are a very talented writer and I am sure that creativity spills over into your design work. I will be anxiously awaiting you to show your work if you choose. I do not out of deference to the clients, but on occasion, slip in a few.

    • Donna says:

      Donna thank you…it means a lot coming from you and i will share my trials and tribulations with the design work as I get going…finding time to write and design with a different full time job is my challenge right now!!

  2. Carolyn♥ says:

    Bravo! Such an excellent post. Kudos to you for your decisions and accomplishments. There is always great growth as we step forward and take risk… but that is the essence of life, where we find the real joy of becoming. Blessings to you as you begin your new adventure!

  3. One says:

    Congratulations for being a winner with your writings and for having your poetries published.

    Step by step you are going where you want to, accompanied by risk and joy.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you for your continued support and friendship…how wonderful to think of Joy mixed with Risk…you are so right…I am so happy but I have butterflies in my stomach at the same time due to the Risk…

  4. Catherine/ A Gardener in Progress says:

    I have to admit I’m not very good at taking risks. Your post inspires me to think more about what I want to do.
    I’m very happy for you that you are starting a design business! I hope you have great success and will keep us posted in how it goes. I love the name too!
    Congrats on your poetry and writing too. It’s obvious that taking risks has been worth it for you.

    • Donna says:

      it is scary Cahterine still taking the rsiks but I had to let go of the fear and then it all has worked out..the fear blocks the good things…let go of one fear and take a risk and have fun…you won’t regret it

  5. Marcia Richards says:

    Excellent post, Donna! I agree with you on the risk taking…it’s a necessary part of life, if we want a full life. Congrats on your winning poetry entry! It must be very exciting to be published…wonderful validation. I hope to experience it myself one day.

    • Donna says:

      Marcia thank you…yes it has been validating…i just keep entering my work in the hopes that someone will want to publish it…meanwhile I self publish through my blog…so glad you are reading and I will start reading your blog…sorry I missed that earlier…

  6. Jean says:

    Donna, I think you have captured such an important life lesson in this post — life is not about avoiding risk; risk is inevitable, and we need to learn how to manage it so that it doesn’t paralyze us with fear. A nursery owner I know was told by her accountant that “Going into business with mother nature is inherently risky.” Ah, but who could want a more glorious business partner! Best of luck with your new venture.

    • Donna says:

      Jean thank you for your good wishes. How profound that going into business with mother nature is risky…this lesson has been a hard one that i still slip and fall with ..but I get back up everytime and keep trying…

  7. lula says:

    Donna, what a coincidence! Yours are lovely and snow will eventually melt, and spring will bring you a new adventure! Risks are not only worth taking but necessary to advance in lfe. You’ll do well!

  8. kimberly says:

    WOW!!! There is no real joy without at least some risk, I believe. I’m very excited for you…embracing your new business will be a challenge, but you’ll be fine. Also, congratulations on getting published!! So much is going on in your life…what an exciting time! I wish you all the best!!!!

  9. b-a-g says:

    Donna ,
    How did I guess that you write poetry !
    I know everyone’s already said it but I want to say it too, congratulations on the news that your work will be published. I admire you having the guts to take a risk.
    I’m a chicken in that sense – I’m only prepared to take a risk if I know that I have a sound back-up plan.

    • Donna says:

      You are so funny…thank you so much for your kind inspiration…there wasn’t much risk with the poetry…I took a shot and it worked out…your blog is really about taking a risk because you put your thoughts and words out there every time you post..you self publish your wonderful blog…

  10. Marie says:

    Beautifully written, Donna and inspiring! One of my favorite quotes about risk and faith is: “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” (Patrick Overton)

    All the best on your new venture. How exciting!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Marie..I love your quote so true and so inspirational…it gave me chills because it made sense and it lessened all fear!!

  11. lifeshighwy says:

    I applaud your bravery and stepping forward. Moving out of our comfort zones is one of life’s hardest challenge. Good luck on your venture. Congratulations on your published works.

    I shall now ponder what I will what personal risk I should take to grow like a small crocus out of my long winter’s sleep.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much…I love your analogy of the small crocus…leaving that comfort zone is one of the hardest lessons we have to learn…whatever you decide it will be great…I can tell!!

  12. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    Congratulations on having your poetry chosen. It must be very exciting. Congratulations as well on your new venture as a garden designer. As someone who is also in the midst of major career changes, I can identify with having to summon the courage necessary to step forward and take a risk.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jennifer. It has been a bit scary somedays…”what was I thinking” comes to mind…I still have a full time job but I hope to retire from it in a couple of years and then this is what I will be doing…writing and gardening…I have so many ideas that i want to get started on…but 1 at a time…I hope things go well for you as to..

  13. PlantPostings says:

    So happy for you, Donna! Your logo with the purple door is so elegant. Good luck as you start this new chapter. And thanks so much for your encouragement as I’ve launched and continued my blog. It has been fun getting to know you over the past months. I hope that friendship will continue. –Beth

    • Donna says:

      You can count on it Beth…glad you liked the logo took a while but a friend who has a printing business helped…I told him what I wanted and voila he delivered…gifted guy!!

  14. Ginny says:

    I’m so glad you took the risk and started this blog! Congratulations on having your poetry selected and on taking the risk to start your business. You’re an inspiration!

    • Donna says:

      Ginny you are so kind… never considered myself an inspiration but I had hoped my lessons learned would help others…glad they have and what added value this blogging has reaped…so many good friends…thx

  15. debsgarden says:

    Congratulations and best wishes for both your writing and your new design business! Your post is inspirational. I remember when I first started my blog that I was filled with self doubt. But I have gained so much from blogging, and who knows what doors may yet open. The fact is doors rarely open if we aren’t willing to put our hands on the knobs and give a push!

    • Donna says:

      Deb thank you and I love your words, “doors rarely open if we aren’t willing to put our hands on the knobs and give a push”. So true I have learned..

  16. Cat says:

    You have much to be excited about and your enthusiasm is evident in your writing. I’m proud of you for taking the risks necessary to achieve your dreams. You’re quite an inspiration!

  17. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Donna, The saying no risk, no reward is so true. I am sure your new business will thrive because you have the attitude needed to make it a success. Giving up my lucrative career and starting my nursery was very risky especially since many people took it upon themselves to tell me it wouldn’t work (it’s no a traditional nursery). Your gut feeling is very important in this process. My only advice: focus on the essentials, don’t buy the T shirts until you are well established. In fact, I still haven’t bought them after 19 years. Carolyn

    • Donna says:

      Thx Carolyn…I know you know know I feel taking this leap, although I still have my regular day job until I can retire in a couple of years. Your advice is important to me and I will remember it 🙂

  18. thevioletfern says:

    Congratulations! I am so excited for you. I also love the name of your new venture. How can you not succeed? Obviously you are passionate about gardening and it will show in your work. Just be true to yourself. I wish you much success and happiness.

  19. Steven says:

    Excellent motivational call to action! So often we (well, at least, I) need a swift kick to get moving. Thanks for offering that through your post.

    Best of all, I think, is that you have the discipline to act and continue to act on your endeavors.


    • Donna says:

      Welcome Steven..thx for your comment…it means a lot and it helps to know people are supporting my efforts….especially friends and colleagues!!

  20. Shyrlene says:

    Donna – can you feel the sheer energy and positive momentum you have created with your readers in one profound post?

    That is the gift you have and are now taking it into a new venture. The scariest, bravest, most challenging steps you take are the ones that will give you the greatest rewards. Congratulations!! (Your logo is a stellar beginning – great ‘curb appeal’!)

    • Donna says:

      Shyrlene, that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me and it kind of scares me a little…I started this blog to see if anything I had learned would help others and apparently it has…thx for inspiring me more to continue…glad you like the logo

  21. Alistair says:

    Donna, congratulations on your publications. Once again your post struck a chord with me. The uncertainty of going self employed! I was a motor Mechanic and at the age of thirty with a young family I had an overwhelming urge to go self employed. My whole life was awash with feelings of low self esteem and sense of despair and this was in spite of having an absolutely lovely wife and two gorgeous daughters. I don’t mind these confessions, I am getting on now and contentment comes with age. Well anyway my self employment was a complete contrast to my trade, people would tell me you know nothing of what you are going in to. Well it was a complete success, I was much more content with myself and achieved a lifestyle I would not have had. Go for it with a positive attitude and expect some temporary set backs.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair thank you from the bottom of my heart….I should have guessed you have daughters…your story has given me more hope and I will prepare myself for those setbacks!! You are a love…

  22. Anna Flowergardengirl says:

    I am so impressed by these ambitions. I have no doubt you will do extremely well cause you care and are sensitive to the needs of others.

    Love your name–Purple Door Garden Designs–that is a stroke of genius. Want me to make a widget out of it? I’ll put it on the sidebar at BGB.

    • Donna says:

      OMG yes I would love a widget for my blog and the BGB website…wish I knew how to do them…thx and thx for your support

  23. Devon Ellington says:

    First of all, congrats on the poems. Second, congrats on the business.

    I’m a firm believer in loving your work and doing the work you love. I’ve been a full-time freelancer all my life, working in the arts. Moving to the Cape and writing full time was a risk, but it’s worth it.

    Gardening is also a risk. I lived in Times Square, for crying out loud. And now I’m trying to garden?

    I love the challenge, but I’m worried about “bad mommy syndrome” every time a plant doesn’t survive. And I have a feeling there will be quite a few of those as I learn my way around a trowel!

    • Donna says:

      Devon thank you for your wonderful good wishes…how exciting you live on the beautiful Cape and you write….I hope to retire soon and just write and garden….never worry if you kill something in the garden…you are not a bad person and nature is so forgiving…just start with easy bulbs and very hardy perennials that are right for your conditions…it is easier then….if you want to do veggies take it slow and start small as you learn with containers…you will do fine!!

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