We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt…  ~Dorothy Day

I really don’t expect much with our weather…I hope…I have lots of hope, but not expectations for a warm, sunny, early spring.  If I expect this, I know I will be disappointed maybe even depressed.  Oh who am I kidding, I am disappointed and depressed.  Who wouldn’t be with snow arriving this year in late November and still going in late March.  I mean come on. Yes I am whining.  I need to whine a bit.

vole destruction

OK I have been told to allow these feelings to come out.  Feel the disappointment.  Really… why would I want to? Because it will make you feel better.  Are you kidding me?  OK, I’ll try it. I am so ready to get out and start cleaning up, planting, watching the growth of the garden.  I have lots of projects to do, and I can’t get to them.  I have this aching need to be in my garden with my plants and flowers, but I can’t.  So right now I am whining and feeling this disappointment.  See if you have expectations folks, you will inevitably have disappointments.  It is life and it sucks some days.

And actually feeling disappointed is reality.  We see things as they are meant to be.  So right now even though I am disappointed, I know I have lots of other things that need doing.  Maybe not in the garden, but definitely projects in writing, in the house, reading and researching.  And really these are important things that must be done so I need to focus on these things.  I know there is a grander plan for why I am not in the garden yet.  Maybe it is to give my body extra time to continue to heal from the brutal beating it took last fall.

As gardeners we constantly deal with disappointment.  We plant seeds and nurture them only to have them never grow, be killed by frost or eaten by animals. Last year I planted hundreds of sunflowers and 3 came up.  Most were eaten by animals and those same animals moved many all around the garden.  Two flowered and survived.

puddles mean another rain garden

We have seen our beloved plants killed or maimed by floods, wind and all manner of other destructive forces Mother Nature dishes out.  So we feel that discouragement sometimes bordering on depression, but I think it hardly gets that far.  After all we buck up and figure out what went wrong and we move on.  We gardeners are a hardy lot that perseveres.  And this gardening hardiness has taught me much in other aspects of my life.



  • When my job was cut to part time, I felt the disappointment, accepted it as a gift of more time to do other things, like gardening, and moved on.  The moving on part didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.


  • When I injured my shoulder with too much weeding, I put it in a sling, learned to weed with my other arm (although I almost damaged that one as well), asked for help (not something I like to do) and was able to get through the projects.

I have also begun to see expectations are rooted in hope.  But hope isn’t a benign feeling that we have.  It is so much more.  In reading the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown she describes it as a thought process.  And I rather think she is right.  When we have hope we don’t feel it, we think it.  We actually take action to make things happen.  We plan, we make alternate choices if we have to and we believe it will happen.  Think about it.  I have hope for spring like weather, and I have plans for the garden when the weather warms.  Since it is not warm, I have alternate plans for now of seed starting indoors, planning, researching and the like.  And I know it will become warm soon enough.  I work hard at this hopefulness.  And it pays off with the wonderful fruits and flowers of my labors throughout my life.

So now as I gaze upon my garden, I am seeing it a bit messy, brown, damaged and in need of tender care and warmer days.  I am feeling a bit disappointed with the lack of blooms.  Soon that will change.  She has already begun the slow process of shaking off her winter coat.  And as I wander about looking upon the ratty patches of earth, I almost do not recognize this garden.  This may mean big changes for her future, but I think I need to take it slow.  Think some more, start drafting ideas before any plans materialize.  Maybe the slow start to spring is giving me time to contemplate what really needs to be done and when.  Start slow and small.  Clean up one area as it dries out instead of trying to tackle an enormous area.  Begin the grand plans in hopes of completing it in due course.  After all what more can I expect….

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
~ Bill Bradley


Special Note: As the garden season is beginning, I am feeling a bit rushed for time to do everything especially now that I have this full time day job.  So I am reducing my blogging to once a week in April.  This will allow me more time to garden and start designing gardens for others.  I hope to write my regular blog a couple times a month on Mondays, and also do some traveling around and post some garden walks.  Promised a few folks I would and it will be fun.  Once a month I hope to highlight my gardens including the veggie garden, and once a month I will highlight some Native Plants.  As I am growing the blog is morphing and growing too, but I will stay with my roots; my main posts that sustain me with life lessons.  Thanks to all who continue to read, comment and enjoy the blog.  You are an important part of this blog and its author.

35 Replies to “Expectations”

    1. Thanks…I will still read lots of blogs and write this one but I do so need some time…maybe I will manage it all so well I can blog more….

  1. Love the post. Admitting disappointment is a good thing. I used to and sometimes still do feel guilty when I feel disappointment, because I am supposed to feel gratitude, right? But reality is sometimes we are disappointed and we have to acknowledge it…and as you said, move on.

    Isn’t Brene’s book, great? I read a little and then step away to ponder for a bit. Don’t forget the book discussion in http://WalkaboutChronicles.com 🙂

    1. I love the book but it is a lot to take in…I will try to remember the book discussion this week…I wrestle with the gratitude vs disappointment conundrum…glad you liked the post

      1. It is a lot to take in, for sure. Small doses.

        It is a conundrum, isn’t it? One thing I have done is when I do feel disappointment or other feeling I don’t want to hold on to for very long, is to at least be aware of it for what it is – kind of like stepping back and seeing, realizing it is not necessarily reality, acknowledge it as just a feeling. Disconnecting it from ME helps me not hold on to it for long… I see it as not part of my soul but something my ego is dealing with…not always easy but I strive for this anyway!

  2. The garden can show us who we really are – I think it can also change who we are – you’ve got to have a flexible attitude and be open to the unexpected everyday miracle too. Ultimately it’s about recognizing how little we control. Good luck with your garden and working full time – hopefully it’s a time of “happy busy.” 🙂

    1. I love the miracles Cyndy…they are what sustain me…and I completely agree that we change with our gardens and vice versa…thx for the good wishes..the day job is a necessity….the garden business and writing a love and hopefully a path after retirement

  3. Dear Donna, I too have found it hard to except some of the changes life has handed me but in time we do ‘move on’ and sometimes are grateful for the changes. I expect many of us will be cutting back on our blog posts with the gardens and life calling out to us. I had been meaning to do less earlier only trying to finish the bird parade. I too look forward to the snow melting and getting out in the garden but will go slow as you so wisely suggest you might. Good luck with managing everything!

    1. Carol, I think it is gratitude that moves me past whining; thanks for the reminder… I usually am surprised by what the changes bring me…I am hopeful spring will continue to come out of her slumber slowly so I can begin to clean up and prepare…

  4. Donna, I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and think it wise that you have a plan for how you want to proceed as spring unfurls. We’re all entitled to a little whining occasionally!

    1. Thx Cat..I wasn’t sure if I was getting into a whining cycle with my posts…not good so I hope to pull myself out of it soon…

  5. Hope is – in my perception – part feeling, part thought. And hope increases through its reiteration; I find that writing about hopes and dreams makes them even stronger and they give me a sense of positivity that I can bring along to my work when I’m stuck at a desk in front of a spreadsheet or whatever.

    It’s part of what I get out of having the garden; a place to dream of, have hopes for and a context for expressing those hopes.

    1. Beautifully said…a place to dream about and hope when I am stuck behind a computer at work…I am loving all this wonderful adivce..thx

  6. I felt sad recently too, after all the damage my garden has sustained recently. But the best thing about disappointment and sadness is when they pass, as they certainly will. Spring will surely arrive and it will be beautiful. Good luck with your job and I am looking forward to your weekly posts. You write so well, I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    1. Masha you are so sweet to say so…I was actually thinking of you as I wrote this because of all the damage your garden sustained..and I thought about your expectations and your disappointments…I hope things will be OK for your lovely flowers and they will grow again for you!!

  7. We do have such hope and expectations in our gardens that a little disappointment is inevitable, as we can not control nature. I understand your needing more time to do other things than blogging, but you can jump back in whenever you like. Remember, mother nature also gives us abundant beauty and you will have that again in your garden soon.

    1. Thanks Holley for those wonderful uplifting thoughts…when everything finally is blooming I won’t even remember that I was whining a bit…after all it is still March…I won’t be gone from blogging just taking it down a notch and adding a few new elements…I love writing my blog so much though that who knows I may be blogging more than once a week after all…

  8. When I was young there were great expectations from my parents, which I couldn’t possibly fulfill. Then I grew older and I had my own expectations, of which only a few became reality.
    I used to focus on the goal (the expectation) with eyes wide open and sense the joy of achievment, but it was all in my imagination and disappointment would follow. Now, I barely visualise the goal through half-shut eyes, just so I know roughly where I’m going, then focus my attention on how I’m going to get there.

    1. Wow what you have learned is hope…focusing on the plan and it becomes more of a reality…maybe I need to shut my eyes more when I look at my garden right now…

  9. Many times my heart has sunk when, in the spring, I would come out to start working in the garden and the voles had gotten to many of my shrubs and young trees—and one year, most of my tulip bulbs. I have been using several methods to keep them at bay, but it can make you almost give up gardening when you realize you have to replace so many plants….and you are not sure if they will get those, too.

    1. I am still trying to figure out a way to defeat them…so much damage…it is enough to make one feel there is no hope…but I plan to win this war!!

  10. Donna, much luck with your new designing business. You will find it hard to keep up with daily life doings if you get busy with others. It will become your life in so much as the demands will mount. My job has been busy even with snow on the ground already and will not slow until November. Hope you get just the amount and kind of work you can handle and still have time for the things you love.

    1. Thank you Donna. I plan to go slow. I have a couple of jobs right now and that will be plenty for a while…your expereince and advice is invaluable to me!!

  11. Donna: I think this is the most depressing time of year in a northern garden. No snow, no colorful leaves, few flowers…just mud, greys and browns, and leafless trees. And damp, cold days. It makes late spring that much more glorious to have gone through this drudgery! Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the amazing rebirth of your northern landscape. And if you’re like me, it will take your breath away! Here’s hoping for a few leaps forward toward spring in the next few days!

    1. You are so right about the depresing landscape at this point…with no real buds or blooms it has been even more so…I always feel on air when I see the garden leap into its blooms…it is almost all at once and non-stop throughout the mid summer…I cannot wait and know it is soon…as one Texas blogger said, when we are in full bloom they will be in a brown haze due to heat with nothing growing and living through us and our posts of blooms…so all will shift as it should I guess when it should…

  12. Hi Donna, wish you all the best too. What about this, “the more you resist persist”! I read it and trying to remember it everytime, instead of the actual things in my midst. It matters.

    1. Andrea that is a very interesting way to view it…I have also used “The only way out if through” which is along the same lines…keep going, adapting and it will all come out OK…

  13. Another really thought provoking post Donna. You are battling the disappointment that the poor weather provokes, I am battling the truth that my health isn’t as good as I want it to be in order to do all the things I want. I hope you find solace in sharing your frustration, I certainly found hope in your thoughts on, well, hope! “This too shall pass”. Your plans to pull back on the blogging to allow more time for the actual gardening sound spot on. May April bring better weather and the chance to start putting your plans into action in the garden.

    1. Janet I am so happy you enjoyed the post and you found some hope in it…I appreciate the support and good thoughts for the weather and garden, but my weather woes are small compared to your health issues…I wish you the best and do so wish for you a wonderful garden full of fruits and veggies this year

  14. Donna, perseverance describes you. You will accomplish all that you need to and you seem to be doing it in an intelligent way…taking care of the priorities, everything else comes with time. You are certainly n ot alone in your woes about the weather and lack of time! Good luck with your garden and on your new job. I look forward to those pictures of all your garden delights!

    1. Marcia thank you so much for your support…all good things come with time and perseverance….I am so enjoying your blog!! It is an inspiration as are you…

  15. Donna, I’m generally a glass three-quarters full sort of person, but even I started to whine when I found myself walking home from work this evening in wind-driven snow — and this is on the Mason-Dixon line in south-central Pennsylvania, not in Maine. Okay here’s the silver lining: spring will be that much sweeter when it finally gets here. Hang in there.

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