Fall is a season of transition. A time when blooms begin to fade and leaves begin to change color. A time when the air cools and the days shorten. This year I’m experiencing my own season of change. I recently finalized my decision to leave corporate America at the end of the year to pursue my life’s passion of landscape design full time! As I transition from a desk to the garden and from a computer to a shovel, I’ll take with me some lessons learned from working in business.
Establish collaborating communities.
I have found that work can be completed most effectively and efficiently when people communicate openly and respectfully and demonstrate a desire to collaborate. When we are open to others’ ideas and are driving to a common goal, creativity and harmony abound. The same is true of the garden. Whether it’s the succession planting of spring ephemerals followed by later-emerging perennials, or a clump of wildflowers in a meadow, plants thrive in communities. Nature designed them (and us) that way.
|A successful community of blooms|
Reward the high performers. Weed out the under performers.
I’m guilty of taking home a special plant from the nursery or plant sale. One that has unique characteristics that I am unable to resist. Sometimes these specimens perform beautifully in my garden, doing exactly what the ID tag says they should. Other times it’s all hype and no action. Don’t be afraid to give those stellar performers a prime spot in your garden; weed out the lackluster performers. Under performers best serve the garden in the compost pile.
|A standout in my garden – Blettila striata|
Plan & execute well.
I have been most successful in corporate America when I planned for what I wanted to accomplish and then executed against that plan. The same is true of the garden. A haphazard approach to design usually doesn’t work. Think about how you want to use the space, consider the characteristics of the location, determine how much space a plant needs to grow to maturity, and develop a comprehensive plan that takes all these factors into consideration.
Be agile and course correct as needed.
As managers and employees, we take risks. We try new things. We succeed. We fail. This is true of gardeners and designers also. Sometimes our experiments work. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes a plan works partially, but needs a few tweaks. We are constantly learning lessons. We persevere. We make adjustments. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Eventually, you’ll achieve the result you’re after.
|A diverse group of plants|
I am an advocate for diversity. Diversity breeds creativity. Bounce ideas off other gardeners and designers. Combine broad-leafed plants with fine textured ones. Consider different color combinations. Embracing diversity will take your garden and your life from ordinary to extraordinary.