“Leader How does your Garden Grow?: It’s more than just planting seeds!”

 “It’s more than just planting Seeds”  Part 2 of 5

As leader it is your job to influence your environment and organization for maximum growth for all stake holders.  This requires skills and often finesse.  You become the lead Gardner for your organization, school or group. If it was just as simple as planting seeds and then walking away everyone would have a green thumb and be an excellent gardener and all schools and organizations would thrive and grow, prosper and achieve. However, to be a gardener that transforms their organization and gets the most growth from its stakeholders, a leader has to put in constant and consistent work. 

The Gardener must have a Plan. Before you plant or do anything, the gardener must have a vision of what type of garden they want and what is its purpose. What are you trying to grow? Is it a food garden to provide food? Is it a flower garden to provide beauty? Is it a pollinator garden to attract insects like butterflies and bees?  Is to prevent the land from eroding?  Is it to transform a space? Whatever the purpose the Gardener must know before the work is put in.  The gardener must have an idea what they want their garden to look like in the end. What types of colors? What height of plants? So as a leader  ask yourself what do you want from your school, staff and students?  What is your goal for your school? What is your vision? What does success look like in your school?

Preparation is key. Before you begin a garden, you must gather all the needed materials and resources necessary for your garden to begin. You need to gather your tools and your equipment and the hands and help, if you need help, to build your garden.  You need to gather the plants, seeds, pots, mulch, rocks, and other materials you need to make up your garden. Some people can gather everything at once and complete it all in one big push because they have the resources, equipment, money, and the help.  Others are limited and plan their gardens one step at a time or work in phases to do a little at a time. Without this step, the execution of the plan can fall apart or be difficult. What do you need to make your vision a reality? Do you need the right staff? Do you need volunteer help? Do you need financial resources?

Prep the ground for the best results.  In order to plant seeds. You must prep the ground to receive the seeds. You must till the soil and break up the soil. You must remove barriers and things which may impede the growth of the seeds such as rocks, tree stumps, trash and dead plants.  If the soil is not rich, you may mix in some new soil to boost it up or add some nutrients in the soil. You may even put down a barrier which gives the seeds a chance to grow without other influences or weeds that you can not see at the time from growing. Have you prepared and removed all obstacles to your goals?

You must pull the weeds. Once planted you must maintain and keep up your garden. You must water your garden, care for your plants and you must pull the weeds. The weeds are the influences and distractions which choke the productivity in your garden. Weeds sprout up any and everywhere. Weeds are natural. However, if not addressed, weeds will spread and choke out the rest of the garden by taking away the nutrients. If your organization or school uses people or has people in it …. Weeds can grow. The types of weeds often seen in a school garden are conflicts, gossip, rumors, personality conflicts, disagreements and seeds of discord. As the leader you must pull the weeds as soon as they show up. The longer you wait the more they spread and the more work it takes to pull them up. As a leader you must monitor conflicts and sources of conflict in your school or organization. You can help prevent weeds by using some weed killers. Weed killers are the things that you do to be proactive to prevent conflicts in your staff. Team building, fairness, morale building activities, clear expectations, clear communication, and staff recognitions are great examples of weed spray that can help prevent weeds in your garden.

Picking the right plants. When planting a garden, you must be sure that you choose the right types of plants. There are so many different types of plants that you can plant in your garden. There are fragrant plants, blooming plants, ground cover plants, and different color plants.  You must be sure that plants you choose, fit the garden that you have and the garden that you want. You must make sure that the plants that you have in your garden are suited for the weather and climate. Does your garden get direct sunlight or is in the shade? Is your climate dry with little rainfall or is rainfall abundant?  Some plants will not do well in certain environments. They will not achieve their maximum potential without lots of work and maintenance. Sometimes the gardener can choose the wrong plants and spend too much time maintaining the plant because it is just planted in the wrong location or needs to be moved to another garden. Not all plants will thrive in the garden you plant.  As a leader in your school or organization you make sure that you have and choose the very best staff and people for your team.  You not only have to be sure that you have the best people but the right people for the tasks, the jobs and for the work in your organization. Also as a leader you must recognized that not all programs and initiatives can be work in every school. You must know your community and school.

Master Gardeners must grow too. Gardeners must continue to learn in order to create the gardens they desire and to maintain them. Master Gardeners train and develop their skills.  They read about the plants or seeds they have planted and how to bring out the maximum potentials.  They talk to other gardeners and visit other gardens to learn.  They know that in order to have the best garden, they must be the very best gardener.

As a leader

  • What type of garden are you trying to plant?
  • What is your maintenance schedule and routine for maintaining your garden?
  • Have you identified the weeds and a method of weed control?
  • Do you have the resources to build and maintain the garden you desire?