Our gardens — our wills

The well-tended flowers of Boston Public Gardens on a lovely September day in 2007

The well-tended flowers of Boston Public Garden on a lovely September day in 2007

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”William  Shakespeare

The more I think about this analogy, the more it holds up on several different levels.  Gardening is not easy; it involves no small amount of dirt, sweat and failure.  But the rewards, which go beyond the final results each year, are well worth the effort.  And the effort itself is often a pleasure, especially as experience teaches us the most efficient and successful methods.

Discipline and regularity in weeding, feeding and pest control are crucial in maintaining a garden.  In a similar way, discipline and regularity are required for us to give our bodies the food, rest, and exercise they need, while guarding against toxins, exhaustion, and excessive or unwanted weight gain or other stressors.

As with gardening, this may sound like a recipe for NO FUN, but I’ve found it surprisingly easy to train my tastes away from harmful treats and toward more nourishing ones.  And I’ve found, as have countless others, that making a habit of exercise will eventually create a valued place for it in my day, one that I give up only when absolutely necessary, and resume as quickly as possible.

If you are a gardener, you may connect with what I’m saying.  But even if you aren’t, you probably know some tips and tricks you’ve learned to maintain your physical health, and thus increase your ability to brighten the world with your own unique flowers or fruits.  What are some of the most effective “weed control” methods we can use to stay fit? How can we stay replenished and refreshed year after year?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Connie Reed

    I often think about what my Mother said when I was growing up, “Anything in life worth having is worth working for.” ~Andrew Carnegie~ Mother said this often about many aspects in life. I immediately thought of this as I read your beautiful blog. Our gardens are certainly like our bodies and our lives. Thank you for sharing this Julia. I pray you are doing well.

    • Hi Connie, in this as in so many other things, your Mother was right! It exactly matches the diary excerpt I sent you recently, when my 9th-grade self was so impressed by your mother’s hard work and the fabulous results of it. Effort brings rich rewards. Matt and I are doing well and hope you are too. Thanks for being here!

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