Back at the beginning of my first career, life as a young lawyer seemed to be a never-ending string of confusing moments as I struggled to catch on and catch up with more experienced attorneys. But I can still remember two incidents in which the beginner, not the expert, held the cards.
In the first, I was the up-and-coming expert, explaining the intricacies of my latest case to my non-lawyer dad. I carefully outlined the key facts and controlling principles of law. He listened closely, impressed (I was sure) by my knowledge and grasp of the proceeding. When I finished my exposition, he paused . . . and posed a simple question, plain as the nose on my face, about an issue I had completely overlooked.
Fortunately, not long after this conversation, I had a chance to stand in my dad’s shoes. Immersed in a difficult trial, the more senior lawyers on the case had a clear sense of what our key, most persuasive arguments would be – until I innocently asked a question that threw a new light on their approach.
As a beginning gardener, you’ll have similar flashes of insight. You won’t (by definition) appreciate all of the complexities involved in picking just the right plant for a specific spot, being mindful of hardiness, heat susceptibility, light requirements, soil preferences, etc. You also won’t have the filters that more experienced gardeners use to screen information and make decisions about what will and won’t work.
Which means that you’ll probably try some things the experts would know not to – and enjoy some wonderful successes that defy conventional gardening wisdom as a result.
Caricature of Barrister Charles Frederick Gill from Vanity Fair, May 9, 1891