Listen to the MUSN’TS, child, 
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me –
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

– Shel Silverstein


I have been contemplating retiring come next summer.  It will be a big change and I think I am ready for it.  I am keeping a journal and plan to write a memoir as there are many my age and a bit younger getting ready to retire.  Of course by retire, I mean retire from your first job and look for another path or dream to fulfill, at least for me.  Not sure what that next step will be just yet.

But as part of the journey this year, I am also trying to continue on the path of finding my more authentic self.  I have made great strides, but I know I still have lots of work to do.  Dealing with perfection is one of these areas.  I have always striven for that elusive dream of perfection.  And with it came the long fall down to reality.  There is no such thing as perfect and the more you try to capture perfection, the further away you will be from it.  You are on the unending loop of dissatisfaction.

See perfection is all in our own perception.  Many times in trying to be perfect, I would dwell on the negatives and how imperfect I was.  But really we are not perfect or imperfect.  We are merely on our life’s path learning lessons and trying to find ourselves.  For me I dwelt too much on the perfect path and the perfect memories.  And it really wasn’t perfect.  I remember more good about my childhood than bad and that is a good thing.  It just seems perfect maybe because I lived in the moment and found the joy and beauty of each day as a child.  So perhaps that is what I need to find again.  It is there behind a thin veil waiting for me to focus on it again and let go of the so called perfect world I have been driving myself to find.

I think there is no better place to find perfection than in the garden.  That is because you will actually never really find it.  The weather, pests and diseases can foul things up quicker than you can blink.  One good wind or hail storm and your perfect garden is gone.  Early tomato blight can wipe out a crop and so no tomatoes for the season.  This year we are dealing with the record heat and dry weather.  Flowers are blooming early, if at all, so all that succession planting is off schedule and there goes perfection again.

And of course my idea of perfection is different from others.  It is one reason I shy away from the latest trends in gardening because it is all about what we each find beautiful and what our priorities are for our gardens.  I cannot achieve the garden magazine look of no weeds and the perfect combinations.  I have found my perfect garden is more about being in harmony with nature.  That has brought me those wonderful moments in the garden where I can be lost for an hour following a spider, watching birds, frog, chipmunks…or simply look for the stunning views of the sun lighting up the foliage and blooms.

I tend to find perfection in my garden through trial and error with more emphasis on the error.  What I find I don’t like or what didn’t work teaches me so much more.  I cannot see the beauty in my garden without seeing the negatives or mistakes.  And these trials and errors teach me to go with the flow, learn the lesson and accept that this year maybe there will be no sweet peppers but look at all the eggplant.

So I thought I would celebrate the beauty and perfection of my garden by taking a different look this time through the foliage.  The part of the plant missed during times of intense blooming.  I am linking in with Pam@Digging for her Foliage Follow Up on the 16th, and Christina@ Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd.

The foliage in the vegetable garden is especially beautiful because of its importance to the plant in helping it produce the fruit we so longingly wait for.  I started growing a rather unusual Asian long eggplant this summer that suddenly grew to be quite dangerous….check out the pictures of the foliage below:


These throny spikes started growing along the inside and outside of the leaves.





And if that wasn’t disconcerting enough I noted them also growing along the stem.  Be careful around this garden veggie.




I love the fuzzy colorful leaves of the eggplant even the thorny kind.  Isn’t this Italian variety just beautiful as it unfolds, and much less dangerous.




 Another great leaf to watch grow is the bush bean.  I love the tufted look of the leaf, and as it grows it smooths out completely.




 And then there is okra where the outline of the leaves reminds me of a maple leaf.



I love the texture of the sweet potato leaf.  Silky smooth compared to the fuzzy/hairy tomato leaf below sparkling in the setting sun.





And lastly in the veg garden is the airy grass like texture of dill as it floats and drifts from the stem.  And oh the aroma and taste.

There is nothing more perfect on my hydrangea foliage than this gorgeous critter.  Especially since there are no flowers this year on the mophead hydrangea macrophylla.


The real lesson of perfection is not to get caught up in the fantasy of perfection.  We can continue to move ahead in our lives knowing we will fall, but in getting back up we can become wiser and happier having gone through that fall.  It is in the imperfections that we find the true beauty of our lives.

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.” ~Proverb


Other foliage featured in the post from my garden:


Beginning of the post-

Beloved ash and maple trees surrounding the meadow


Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus

Pearly Everlasting

End of the post-

Large hosta catching the setting sun


Next up on the blog:  Monday will be time for another Simply the Best post just in time link in with Wildflower Wednesday and Dozen for Diana.

I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

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.



35 Replies to “Perfection”

  1. So much to look forward to and so much that it is too late to change Donna. I know some of that feeling. As for perfection, we lost it when we left Eden and so I avoid gardening books with perfect in the title. How serene is green and the wonderful shapes of foliage. This post reminded me of Brian Patten’s poem:
    “How easy it would be
    If love could be brought home like a lost kitten
    Or gathered in like strawberries,
    How lovely it would be;
    But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be”

    1. The poem is perfect Laura 😉 I have decided the words perfect and best just aren’t for me…thanks for sharing the poem.

  2. Perfection has never been included in my vocabulary. Mostly because I have a cousin whose last name is Perfect. She would always tell me as a kid that I could never measure up to her because she was perfect. So that word was always negative. But realistically, I never even sought perfection. It is unattainable anyway and I like what Laura quoted, “But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be”. I look at is more as, things are as perfect as I want them to be. No need for excess. Perfect is as in a perfect day.

    I just got back from Maine, and really have mounds of work waiting. I just wanted to stop in and say hi. Thanks for stopping in on on my Chanticleer posts. I appreciate you commenting.

    1. My pleasure as always…I don’t know if I could deal with Perfect family member. Lovely thoughts about perfection though.

  3. A beautiful thing is for sure almost never perfect because I don’t think perfection can be defined. We must all strive to be true and then beauty will come perhaps. You get to be of a certain age and you realize that is so true. How cool is that eggplant? Never seen anything like it!

    1. So true Tina…I will let you know how that eggplant turns out…it was just the strangest thing I have ever grown…

  4. Your post reminds me that I really want to plant dill–great foliage AND flowers, right? Thanks for joining in with your pretty and interesting leaves for Foliage Follow-Up!

    1. Thanks Pam. I love your meme and I need to add more foliage to my posts. Dill is a fabulous herb in the garden for us and for the butterflies…I plant some for me and them as they lay eggs and munch on the plants as the caterpillars grow. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. Wonderful macros, Donna! And it’s so true–a beautiful thing is never perfect. There’s always something that’s just off a touch–a fuzzy Cottonwood tuft on a Hosta, or a blemish on an Apple. Those things make nature more interesting, don’t they. Same thing with life–we learn through our imperfections and they keep life from being boring. Thank you for the inspiration from this thought-provoking post.

    1. Beth I am so happy you enjoyed the post and pictures…I too like those imperfections both in me and my garden best!

  6. There is a book at the library called, The Perfect Garden. I laugh every time I see it. There is no perfect garden or perfect gardener. Enjoying the moments, the simplicity and the little, surprising vignettes is enough.

    Good luck with your future endeavors. I’m sure that whatever road you travel it will lead to good things. And there will be good things along the way too.

    1. Thanks Grace for your good wishes…if I believe they will lead to good things they will…A Perfect Garden…I have to laugh too!

  7. Donna – Is it possible for you to be any more authentic?
    I call this kind of post a Donnabella post – they’re my favourite of yours.
    I think that thorny eggplant is intent on keeping its fruit to itself.

    1. You are too kind…it is wonderful to hear that you like these posts. I love these posts too. I cannot wait to see how the eggplant grow, how it will be to harvest them and their taste.

  8. Perfect garden? Way back when still at school I fell in love with Japanese gardens. I remember reading about a Zen master preparing a tea garden for guests. Everything just so, perfectly manicured. Just before the guests arrive, he gently shakes a maple branch. A few leaves drift down to settle on the moss. And that – is a perfect garden.

  9. I suppose in my mind there is a picture of the perfect garden which I am striving to create. But I know I never will. So I take delight in every day instead of worrying about how far away from that picture my garden truly is! That eggplant looks dangerous! Be sure to dress in full armor when you go to harvest it!

  10. I never think of myself as a perfectionist, but just today I was disappointed because I fell short, again. Ha! Humans are funny. I love that thorny eggplant! Great post!

  11. A lovely post Donna. Interesting thoughts on perfection… it seems we all strive for it and yet we also say “nobody’s perfect”! Nature is definitely not perfect, which makes me wonder what is…
    I enjoyed seeing all that lush foliage… despite the heat you’ve had that’s amazing! (I’m thinking of doing a post on all the ugly and imperfect bits of my garden soon!)

    1. Cathy thank you and you are so right…what is perfect? My foliage is definitely looking bad as the drought continues now. I would be willing to piggy back on your ugly, imperfect post. I almost used imperfect foliage pics for the post but opted to use the lovely veg garden. It had the only nice foliage since we water it.

  12. Donna,
    That’s wonderful you’re thinking about retiring. With all your interests and talents you’ll have an easy transition I’m sure.
    Love the photos of the leaves!

    1. Thanks Heather…my love has turned to writing and gardening more than my soon to be former profession….a new life to begin, a new path to journey….

  13. This is a timely post for me as I struggle with feeling useful..I was so active and busy with teaching and going to school again and then….illness. I spent a chunk of time confined to the house and then had trouble leaving the house when I could ambulate again…my re-birth is here in the yard and while on some level I would love the have the perfect garden, I know that is isn’t possible nor the right thing for my I learn to live with messy..this has been an ongoing process…and you can move to the next stage….and that won’t be perfect either, but will be another journey…Michelle

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful Michelle…I am so much better at not being perfect or striving for it…I am better but not best…best is too final…where else can you go from there…so my garden and life get better and better. Did you get much rain recently? We got none. We are in trouble.

      1. Donna..we had about a quarter of an inch and it is horrible to see my milkweed patch drying up. I have the 3 monarch cats to raise and need it.. I won’t be able to do the spicebush and the poor tree is loaded with eggs. I am trying to figure out where I can put another one and where I can get one that isn’t sprayed…almost all of the milkweed is going to pod already…I really did enjoy the post..I feel I have met a like-minded person on my journey…Michelle

  14. Donna, What a wonderful, though-provoking post. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of gardening is that my garden will never be perfect. There are glimpses of perfection…a certain plant combination or a butterfly feeding on a coneflower or a newly unfurling fern…but being able to embrace and build upon the imperfections is what keeps my out in my garden day after day after day.

  15. I always associated retirement with roses (time to stop and smell/admire and all that) and not eggplants. Enjoy your coming retirement! I think the one perfect thing in all this is your decision to move on to better things and make the most of what is coming in the future, be it for self or for your garden.

    1. Bom how funny…you are right that roses would be more appropriate. Thank you for your wonderfully kind words…it has taken a long time for me to get to this point on my path.

  16. Donna, I will be a few months behind you in the journey into retirement. I am so ready!! Just counting the months now. I, too, want to write about retirement; I’m planning to chronicle my retirement experience in another blog, which I’ll probably begin writing sometime this year. Like you, I’m thinking about all those baby boomers coming along behind us as a likely audience.

    I used to struggle with the perfection thing. It was very freeing for me when I finally realized that our strengths (the things that we like about ourselves and that others find valuable in us) and our weaknesses (the things that we and others might like to change about us) are two sides of the same coin. If we could eliminate all the weaknesses, we wouldn’t have achieved perfection because we would have sacrificed the strengths in the process. Or as one of my long-suffering friends put it to me when I was in my thirties: “If you ever succeed in being the perfect person you want to be, you won’t have any friends left because you’ll be insufferable!” 🙂

    1. Wow Jean we just continue on the same wavelength. I had thought of a blog for retirement, but I decided I just didn’t have the time. I have been dying to write a memoir anyway. So I will look forward to your new blog. I love your friends thoughts…we would be insufferable wouldn’t we.

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