Finding Joy in the Little Things

A box of children's board books, all carefully cleaned and placed in a pretty box. A set of dumb bells delivered to my porch by the owner of my local gym. An online link to fun activities for toddlers from a friend in Australia. The wave of a stranger as they pass (at a distance) on the trail. These are treasures beyond measure. Yet truthfully, a few weeks ago they may not have held such significance or been received with such gratitude  – because as ashamed as I am to admit it, I took so much for granted. I doubt there is anyone reading this today whose world has been left untouched by the pandemic. It's so easy to spiral into that dark hole of fear and despair and to focus on all that we have lost, including our freedom of movement. To combat that, I continue to choose hope each day, but I'm trying to take that a step further and actively seeking and acknowledging joy in the little things. It's a lesson I have learnt from Anna.

Dressing teddy in clothes made by MY mum many decades ago!

Anna is my three year old granddaughter who would usually go to a wonderful daycare during the week while her parents, both architects work. With the daycare now closed to all but the children of "essential" workers I was happy to offer to help out, admittedly whilst also wondering if my stamina was going to be up to the task! I won't lie – it's exhausting – but it's also the most fun I've had in a long time.   I have a box of craft supplies we call the Rainy Day Box. It has all the basic essentials like chalks, markers, colored paper, glue, and paints inside as well as a large plastic tablecloth and child sized plastic aprons. When I asked Anna if she'd like me to get out the Rainy Day Box her eyes sparkled as she clapped her little hands and exclaimed "Yes please Nana!" So we've been baking, painting, printing, singing, reading, gardening, making pasta necklaces, and more. We've laughed as we've made a mess. We've laughed as we've blown bubbles over one another in the process of cleaning up. We've laughed as we pretended that the cow says "woof" and the pig says "meow". We've laughed as we poked holes into the soil to plant radish seeds, dropping in too many at once by "mistake". Life is simpler and slower today than it was a few weeks ago but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In slowing down, I now have time to sprout seeds on damp paper towels so that Anna can learn about roots and shoots. We can jump in puddles and hunt for bugs. We can make memories.   As you adapt to the ever-changing situation, may you also find joy in the little things, both received and given. Maybe you can pick a simple bouquet of flowers from your garden and put them on a neighbors doorstep? Or leave a bottle of water out for the mail delivery folks with a note to say thank you? As you plan your vegetable garden, can you plant an extra row so that you have plenty to share later in spring? I'd love to hear your ideas on how YOU can bring joy, and also to hear what small joys you have found.

Gardening (with or without kids) Resources

Wishing you all good health and small kindnesses this week.

A note about these photos: all were taken very quickly (!) with my cell phone so not the usual quality, but fun captures that I hope you enjoy nonetheless.

Disclaimer: this page includes a few affiliate links which will help me buy Anna a few more seeds – thank you!

Subscribe to Receive Blog Posts

Gardening inspiration delivered right to your inbox from Le Jardinet


Fun foliage that you can eat (mostly)

  At this time of year it isn't unusual for me to be designing 60 or more container gardens a week. Each client has their own preferences in terms of color and style but all expect a 'wow' factor. And I expect to deliver! My biggest challenge is always to find fabulous foliage which works…
Read More

Can smoke in the garden be a good thing?

  Call it a revelation, but I think I may like smoking smoke bushes after all. I've been somewhat of a smoke snob until recently. Smoke bushes (Cotinus species) are fabulous foliage shrubs without a  doubt. Yet the classic  'Royal purple' smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal purple'), with or without its fluffy pink 'smoke' (flowers) has just never…
Read More

Top 5 deer-resistant annuals (I hope)

  I need more plants. One of the joys and frustrations of starting a new garden is watching it grow. For once I'm trying to be restrained and allow room for the trees, shrubs and perennials to expand to their natural shape and size without jostling neighbors yet that means I can see bare soil…
Read More

A Special Bouquet for Mother's Day

  Flowers are the quintessential gift for Mother's day. They are available everywhere – from cellophane wrapped bouquets at the gas station to artful arrangements at the florists. Yet do you know where these flowers come from or how they were grown? Do you care? Truthfully my answer to both of these questions used to…
Read More

Sunset Inspiration

I'll often ask clients what their color preferences are for container garden plantings or as a palette for a new garden border. It can often be hard for them to articulate, however, and ends up being a series of Q & A – reds? Yes. Oranges?  Not sure.  Blues? Maybe. I find that I need…
Read More

Spirea – the poor man's shrub no more.

One thing's for sure – there's no room for snobbery when it comes to gardening. Before moving to this house 2 ½ years ago I used to smile politely when clients mentioned they had a deer problem and gave my all-knowing benevolent nod while saying "Ah yes, deer will eat anything if they are hungry…
Read More

Planting for Butterflies

Is our garden something we really own or a piece of this earth which has been entrusted to us? Are we caretakers rather than landowners who by association have the responsibility – and honor – of nurturing all that grows in and on it? I'm no philosopher and this is not intended to be a…
Read More

Learn to Play a Duet

I remember when we first moved to the United States sixteen years ago and suffering acute culture shock as I walked down the cereal aisle at a local store. I mean really – how many different varieties of frosted flakes do we need?! A trip to the nursery can leave you feeling equally  overwhelmed due…
Read More

Gazing Skywards – a fresh look at trees

  There's something magical about looking up through a leafy canopy. Dappled light adds a luminous quality to foliage, with such backlighting revealing details and colors which might otherwise go unnoticed. Several trees have wonderful downward facing flowers which are partially hidden by the surrounding leaves yet when viewed from below not only are they…
Read More


There's no doubt about it – change can be messy. Getting from before to after somehow always seems to involve the mid-point of  being distinctively worse; that "Oh no – what have we done?" moment. I've been there many times but it never gets easier. In my last post 'Progress'  I showed you examples of our current…
Read More

Welcome to My Garden Adventures


I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

Buy My Books Here!



Container Gardening Course

Enter KCHAPMAN20 to get 20% off

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tile, bathroom vanities, shower curtains and bathroom mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

TV Interview