Grow Your Life: Respecting the cycle of life

I can’t resist keeping the cottage windows cracked open so that the sweet smell of the lilacs can waft in

It’s close to the end of May, and I sit here writing with the wood stove burning and the rain coming down.

There is a chill in the air, but I can’t resist keeping the cottage windows cracked open so that the sweet smell of the lilacs can waft in.

As I look out into my garden, my eyes feast on the rich, green blanket of colour from the leaves, grass and perennials and I take great joy in watching them grow every day. I am reminded and grateful for nature’s wonderful unyielding rhythm as it releases yet another spring for all of us. As with all cycles of living and growing, there is also the part that we don’t care much for.

Over the past five days, I took an unexpected trip back to Ontario to celebrate and say farewell to a young man whose life ended suddenly and tragically. As we gathered on the shores of Beausoleil Island at Camp Kitchikewana, we came together to remember the light, love, values and contributions he shared with each of us in forty short years. I found myself taking much-needed time to be quiet and reflect.

As I sat on the smooth, water-worn Canadian shield rock and looked out into the blue waters of Georgian Bay, I couldn’t help but replay in my mind the words spoken by his family and friends.

It was a reminder that it’s really not important what we are doing but rather who we are being. Who are you really being in this world? What is your legacy going to be? If we view ourselves as compassionate, kind, loving, inspiring, trusting, caring, honest or perhaps even fun, are we really being that with those around us?

It is our responsibility to walk with our own values every day and nurture them as we do our gardens.

Do we make poor decisions, say or do things we wish we hadn’t, and have struggles along the way? You bet! Each day is an opportunity to be the best we can be, to learn, to grow, to give, forgive and receive. Death always reminds us that each moment is indeed a gift.

This week, think about someone who is gone, who inspired you in your life. I would like to suggest that you purchase a special plant, shrub or tree and place it in your home or garden as a reminder of the gifts this person shared with you, and that we can all be more as we continue this journey together.

Elizabeth Shopland is a horticulturist for Homefront Essentials Gardening, a Certified Solution Focused Coach, author and speaker, and the owner of Banyan Tree Solutions. She can be reached at 250-342-8978 or