There were 9 teens and another very helpful adult present and we got most of the work done in just under four hours. I am so pumped about what we were able to accomplish though I will admit there were doubts along the way.
Let me just first off say that gardening and yard work is not my cup of tea.
I like parts of it and get excited about the end result and enjoy doing small spurts of work, but this would not make it into my top 1,000 jobs I'd choose to do daily. Gratefully, the kids were well fed by the breakfast that I prepared. We looked at a parable from the Bible about planting seeds, prayed for the food and the time together and for the most part, they stayed engaged and worked hard for the bulk of our time together. Sore and tired the next day, I was glad to have had all of their young muscles to help us attack this project. They killed it! Really, they did a very good job.
Here are a few things I learned along the way...
- You need to have mixing soil for nutrients and good stuff like that.
- You need to take measurements to the designer so that you don't purchase too many things for your project.
- You must make sure that you call digger's hotline BEFORE you dig.
- You must ensure that you have plenty of supplies so that everyone can be continuously working (thanks to the many neighbors who loaned us shovels, weeders and advice).
- You really need to have two adults around when managing a group of teens on projects like this; it was especially helpful to have one who was knowledgeable about what she was doing.
- You must have a sense of humor. Laughing at yourself and what you don't know - this has to be okay...
- You must stay hydrated (even if it's overcast outside).
- You should consider playing music.
- You need to think through the project all the way to the end. (I forgot mulch!)
- You must know what you want it to look like in order to tell others - oh! Be sure to know how to communicate it quickly and change it as much as possible to be sure that what you want is what you get.
- You must trust that when you turn your back to work in a different area, that the job is going to get done, as you directed.
At one point, our elderly next door neighbor had a person helping him out with his beautiful backyard and the gentleman helping commented on how well I interacted with the teens and actually said, "It looks really nice, you all did a nice job." (I receive that!) He also told me that the back bed was probably going to be a little tight, but I'm happy to trim, trim, trim as necessary. He wasn't raining on my gardening parade.
There are a few other things that I need to do before we can call it "a goal accomplished".
- Be sure to put down some sort of tarp to keep the weeds down.
- Mulch the beds.
- Plant the beautiful magnolia tree.
- Water, water, water.
It is great to know the power of setting a goal. And honestly, learning that I could not have done this by myself, I really need to stop thinking that I need to do so much on my own. It was more enjoyable with others and with people feeling comfortable enough to weigh in and give me advice on this which I know so little about, they saved me time, money and frustration (thank you Meghan!).
Look forward to photos of the final product and please pray for me to finish strong.