Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

 I have been thinking about this word success.  It’s opposite in the dictionary is the word failure.  Certainly not a positive word for many people, but I beg to differ as Mr. Churchill so eloquently put it in the quote above.  We get so hung up on success and failure.  Either one can send people nose diving into a sea of depression, but I think we look at success all wrong.  It is about the accomplishments after trying something.  We may not get the desired outcome, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t successful.  We may have achieved a different outcome that was better or we have learned a lesson so we can continue to try, improve, fail, try again until we reach the desired outcome.  Each trial, each lesson has some success because it moves us forward.  And that is what success is…moving forward even though you may have to move backward, sideways or stand still for a while.  If you keep trying you will eventually move forward.  At least that is how I have come to perceive success in my life.

People will tell you to be positive as you endeavor to work toward accomplishments, but sometimes that is not always possible.  We can be disappointed by the outcome of our effort.   But if you let the disappointment be felt in a constructive way so that it can be a means of enthusiasm to keep trying then you will want to keep going and moving forward.  If you decide to give up well OK maybe this was not for you.  It was not your passion.  I have tried to play golf because my dad loved it, friends played it and I wanted to join in.  I took lessons, my dad patiently took me golfing and tried to teach me and I even joined a league.  But in the end, I realized I was trying to love and play golf for others not myself.  So I stopped.  I found other activities to enjoy like writing and gardening.  This is where I put my efforts.  And with each new try I have found some success.

In another month I will be celebrating my one year anniversary of starting this blog.  I had committed myself to writing one post a week on Mondays, and I faithfully accomplished this goal.  People seem to enjoy what I write and I love the interaction with my readers.  I even posted more than once a week many times.  This past Saturday, I did a guest post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.  The subject was Discovering Rain Gardens and folks seem to enjoy the post and learn from it.  I even learned a few things from readers.

I also guest post monthly at Walkabout Chronicles.  Two dear friends, Steven and Liane, started this site about life and journeys and asked it I would post sometimes.  They were delighted when I asked if I could post monthly.  They were delighted….wow you mean you actually like my writing.  You can check out my new post for August!

I still find it hard to believe that people do like my writing.  For me the writing is something I must do.  It comes from somewhere deep inside and it must have an outlet.  So I keep writing even if it is just for me.  But the recognition of a memoir and the publishing of 2 poems was even more than I thought possible as I took up the pen this year. If you do consider buying the book that contains 2 of my poems, there is info about where to order the book at the end of the post.

With the garden, there have been a series of highs, lows, successes and failures ever changing with each new season and year.  So as I contemplate successes this year, I am thinking about what has been a success in the garden.  I know, I know the garden season is not over yet so why write about successes.  There are certainly more to come.  I do believe that, but I thought I would consider what has happened so far particularly in the veg garden.  The vegetable garden is a new challenge for me, and one I continue to “grow” with every year…forgive the pun 😉

Veg Garden successes this year:

  1. Growing some heirloom tomatoes and beating some problems like blight although tomato harvest will be small.  Letting a few tomatoes fall and compost in the raised bed gave me 2 volunteers that are growing strong and producing tomatoes.  Maybe the hot weather will allow them to ripen before frost.
  2. Growing hot peppers from seed.  Cayenne have been ripening, hatch green chiles are flowering.  Almost lost the chiles, but they recovered.  Sweet peppers had a very limited success.  Still learning about growing successful peppers.
  3. Harvested 24 cloves of garlic that are almost dried and ready to use.
  4. Harvested lots of carrots, lettuce, radishes, scallions.  Just planted more.
  5. Harvested a few peas, beans, beets.
  6. Pumpkins last year produced no fruit.  It appears we have some fruiting up.
    baby pumpkin
  7. Sweet potatoes still growing in their grow bags.  Hope to harvest a bunch in a few weeks.
  8. Eggplant growing slowly.  I think the raised bed is a bit shady for the tomatoes and eggplant there.  Will move them to another sunnier bed, and put cooler weather veggies here.
  9. Some blueberries so we had success this year.  Raspberries are now flowering so we will get some late raspberries although the plants are much smaller than in previous years.
  10. The new blackberry bush grew but no berries, and the grape grew a bit but not much so we need to assess what to do. The strawberries need to be moved again and the bed cleared of weeds.
The big lesson in all my experiments is that although some veggies did OK in containers, I am putting in another small raised bed that will fit in the garden.  Then I can grow peppers and peas in a raised bed for better success.  Our soil even with amendments is so bad I have limited success unless I use raised beds, and the containers do not produce the same yield as the raised beds.  I also hope to start more plants like tomatoes, eggplant and sweet peppers from seed next year.
juvenile robin on 'Blue Muffin' viburnum
The success of the robins definitely had a profound effect on me and taught me to try a bit harder; it tends to lead to more successes than whining although sometimes we need to whine about the disappointment to get it out of our system.  So forgive any whining this year especially about the weather.  It is out of our control after all so we just have to roll with it.  Here is the latest picture of one of the baby robins.  They are a week old but their eyes are still shut.  It is hard to believe that very soon they will be leaving the nest.  I expect by this time next week, we will be dealing with an empty nest.  But the number of juvenile robins in the yard lately leads me to believe that the robins who nested nearby have had a bumper crop of young ones.  Soon they will all gather and be gone and the garden will be so quiet.
One of my favorite native plants in flower is helenium.  Seems so soon and I have hardly made a dent in the weeding.  So it appears my late summer and fall will be full of weeding….but anything that keeps me in the garden is fine by me.


The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way. ~ Robert Kiyosaki


Book Update:

For those that have asked, my 2 poems are being published in the book, The Moment I Knew, August 26th.  You can see the announcement in my blog post.  Information about sale of the book is:

  1. The book will be for sale at as well as other online and independent booksellers (e.g. Amazon, Barnes and Noble).
  2. Preference is for folks to buy directly from Sugati Publications because the charities selected, who will profit from the sale of the book, will get a greater amount of the profits.  If folks buy from other booksellers (e.g., Amazon) then the book seller gets about 40% which significantly cuts into the charities profits as well.





Special Note: All flowers and critters pictured here are from my garden.  Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time this Friday where she hosts Fertilizer Friday.  I’ll be flaunting mine.

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All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

29 Replies to “Success”

  1. I view success and measure its value by how others perceive accomplishment. Not by recognition, but quiet admiration. My art has been awarded, exhibited and sold, but it is when others see meaning and can relate in some way that is important. I don’t look at failure, only the action of having tried. My art is like your writing, it comes from within, (not my blog art though, that comes from a flash of an idea, not in depth thought and meaning). Your writing always has depth, even on the blog. It takes me too long to ponder the right wording, so blogging to me is like I mentioned, a flash of thought. You have taken it to a much more meaningful level exploring a feeling, then relating it to your garden. This is a key to good garden design, instilling meaning. That is then successful.

    1. I have only seen a bit of your art and so admired your talent, your eye…I do think it comes through in your photos and how you pair it with fewer words, but meaningful words in your posts…those flashes as you call them are wonderful for those of us who read your blogs. I have been moving from the flashes I used to use for design to the more meaningful design with your help to see it.

  2. You are so right about success and failure. My kids have definitely learned the most from perceived failures and they have become more resilient as a result. Also failure and success are terms that reflect only the product not the process. The process is life itself. The product is usually much less important.

    1. Carolyn so true. The process is the learning and what sustains us if we can find the lesson in both the success and failures. And how wonderful your kids have learned this…it took me a long time to learn this although I must have been resilient since I’m still standing…a success in and of itself some days 🙂

  3. I think there’s a big difference, too, in whether your gauge of success comes from inside you or is imposed by other people–kind of like what you were saying about passion. In your writing and gardening it sounds like you have an internal sense of what works and what doesn’t. You’re enjoying the sweetness of outside recognition (and so you should!), but that doesn’t seem to be what you use to measure success. I’ve been trying to view life more that way as I’ve had to let go of some activities. From the outside that letting go makes me look (feel) less successful, and sometimes I fall into the trap of believing that. Lately I haven’t been asking myself “what am I accomplishing,” but “am I living my values?” It’s amazing how that difference keeps me moving forward in a happy (vs. stressed) way. Like Carolyn said, the process really is important.

    1. Stacy our society sometimes makes us believe that if we are not doing 10 things at once successfully we have some how failed…I have let go too and slowed down which was hard…I have always competed against myself to measure success although my bar is set too high sometimes, but if I want to achieve the goal it has to be high. I never thought about the internal measure as you point out but it is there…and living our values I think also kept me going in the right direction…thx for your thoughtful comments…I always learn so much from the wonderful comments folks leave

  4. Love the first quote. I, too, think of success as part of the journey. I think one reason I love gardening so is because it is so challenging. Plants change, weather changes, and the garden is different every year. Every year there are successes and failures, and a new opportunity to try again. Great post!

    1. Thx Holley…I think the learning through the successes and failures keeps the gardener going….we do so love the challenges!!

  5. I agree with the importance of continuing to move forward with optimism despite what appears to be failure … The hard thing sometimes is deciding when to stop persevering at trying something (like you did with golf) and learn the lesson that this is not something for me … Our culture admires perseverance, but sometimes we can persevere for too long at the wrong thing.

    I am reading a wonderful book called Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, one of my favorite spiritual writers. He has a radically different take on success and failure from that dominant in our culture. To him, failure is necessary for growth because it makes us recognize our limitations and reorient our lives spiritually. So to get to the second half of life and grow, we HAVE to fail in some significant way. Otherwise we stay so focused on superficial successes that we never get to the real meaning of life.

    Thanks for a meaningful post!

    1. glad you enjoyed it…I so agree with Richard’s book…we all fail and learn from it so we know in which direction to move forward…but it is in these perceived failures that we get so much movement because we do learn…so that is why I still call them successes 🙂

  6. Beautiful post Donna! So many truths . . . sincere and heartfelt. Congratulations on your poems being published and near anniversary of your blog! It is always a pleasure to read your thoughtful words . . . when I can. Speaking of failure . . . I am trying to overcome that feeling at being ill. How is it that we come to believe ourselves failures because we become ill? Maybe because we can no longer do those ten things all at once. ;>)

    1. Carol I think of you often and wonder how you are. I cannot get to reading blogs that much with my current job but hope to change that soon. I do miss reading your blog especially… I think as we age or become ill we find it hard to accept any limitations…those limits feel like failures to me….wishing you well Carol 🙂

  7. I love your writing, too! The quote about success is a very thought-provoking one, and I’ll remember it always.

    How wonderful to have your poems published, Congratulations!

    So nice to meet you through Fertilizer Friday.

    1. Thx and Karen it is always nice to have you visit. So glad you enjoyed the post and blog and hope to keep visiting through FF and Blotanical!!

  8. Your reflection on the meaning of success reminds me of a poem that says, even planting a garden that brings pleasure to a child, that’s success. Love what you wrote.

  9. Donna, thats what I love about gardening. In life it seems success is guaged on how much you achieve and there are so many variations on what success is – what I think is “successful” may be someone else mediocrity etc. But in the garden? Success is mostly meausured by achieving what we set out to do. And even in failure, there is success – dead plants fertilise the earth for next seasons successful plantings. A plant munched to the ground by caterpillars equals butterlies in the garden … there are so many ways to view our so-called “failures”, in gardening and in life.

    1. So true Christine. Your outlook is uplifting and makes me think even more deeply of those perceived failures turning to success. Thx for sharing your thoughts!!

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