Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

GBMD: A Little Learning

Quotation on the Nymphaeum at West Green House, October 2015 
I've been trying to take a decent photo of this quotation for Muse Day for ages and at last, autumn's softer light enabled me to do so. It's given me quite a lot of food for thought over the past few months.

When I tell people I write a gardening blog, the most common reaction I get is I must be an expert on gardening. Anyone who gardens knows there is too much to learn in a lifetime, no matter how deeply we might drink from our own 'Pierian Spring'. My blog is simply all about what I've learned or thought about gardening along the way.

Sometimes the amount left to learn seems overwhelming, and it's tempting to think it might be best not to drink (or blog or garden in this instance) at all. However, as an advocate of lifelong learning, I've decided that would be a shame, and so I must drink deeply for as long as I possibly can.

Luckily Pope agrees, as Wikipedia's entry for Pierian Spring shows. Reading the rest of his poem reveals his true meaning: a little learning can be intoxicating, but drinking deeply sobers you up and reveals just how little you really know.

As long as I - and you, dear reader - realise my shortcomings, everything will be fine.


  1. I hate the term expert, I think as soon as you start to consider yourself an expert in anything you have totally missed the point.
    When I used to deliver IT courses I was often referred to as the expert. My response was you can never be an expert when it comes to using a computer. I think gardening is the same. There is just so much to learn and things keep changing.

    1. Ha - we both have an IT background Sue! I agree, IT's such a fast moving world, so no-one can be called an expert.

  2. I think one life is not enough to make one good garden. Groetjes,

    1. Food for thought Hetty - I think there are some good gardens made in a lifetime, but they can never be called finished gardens, no garden is ever finished. However, I think I might be taking your comment too literally...

  3. Learning just a little makes me thirst for more!
    Life-long learning is my goal, too.
    Hope you are having a good day!

  4. A few years ago I interviewed a gardener who was in her mid 90s. She told me that growing tomatoes in the greenhouse had become a little too arduous for her, so she was turning her attention to cacti and succulents. She was rather thrilled about this because it was opening up a whole new area of gardening about which she knew little. She was a voracious reader and I suspect that she was learning until the day she died, just short of her 100th birthday. She told me that one of the best things about gardening is that you will never know it all.
    Here's to lifelong learning!

    1. That's a fantastic story Sarah. You're right, I know quite a bit about gardening on limestone... and clay... and in southern England, which leaves whole realms of gardening about which I have no idea. Yes, the best thing about gardening is you'll never know it all - that's daunting at times, but definitely a positive thing on the whole.

  5. Oh what wise words from Pope VP. I too am a firm advocate of life long learning and hope that my opportunities to learn and grow continue for as long as possible. Now if only we didn't have to sleep but even then I would imagine that there would still not be enough time to fit it all in.

    1. Ooh yes an extra 8 hours a day would really help to fit it all in!


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