Where Is Your Support?

You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support - Sabrina Bryan

My living conifer arch thanks to the right support!

If you visit my garden and look at some of my weeping conifers you may think that there is something amiss. I love weeping trees for their uniqueness and character. Most of my trees look odd with stakes poking out of them. There may be several support stakes poised in curious directions. My garden is a like a paint canvass and I love to unleash my creativity which includes creating the unusual and funky. Weeping trees are like that odd flashy relative at a family reunion – you are mesmerized and just keep staring at them.

For years I have been training my conifers to grow in crazy directions. I even have a few that look like tall, wise old gents overseeing the garden with outstretched arms. In some of these pictures you can see where trees are being trained to weep where I want them too.  I have coaxed a few of them to create living arches over some of my paths. It’s incredible to walk through the garden under lush green arches that gently sway in the breeze. The key is providing the weepers with the right kind of support.

To grow into magnificent living sculptures, weeping trees need support. They can’t flourish into what is in your imagination alone. They also need patience and for you to carry out the vision of what they can be in your mind. In short, they need you because you provide the structure that they seek when they need it most.

 Creating living weeping sculptures is simple. Start with a weeping conifer with pliable branches and simply drive a support stake from a garden center into the ground until its sturdy.  The size of the stake should be taller than the branch that you will be supporting. Simply tie the branch(s) in the direction that you want them to grow onto the post with garden twine or tape. Don’t tie them too tight because the circumference of a tree branch grows more quickly than you may think and you don’t want to choke it by tying too tightly. Tie it enough so the branch remains supported yet, the branch or trunk has some slight wiggle room.

You will probably need to practise tying the branches a few times but its simple once you have the hang of it. That’s all you need to do! Within a year or two you can remove the stake and you will have a living art piece. Here are some of my favorite weeping conifers to use in the garden:

Weeping White Pine
Weeping Alaska Cedar
Weeping Norway Spruce
Weeping Larch
Weeping Serbian Spruce
Weeping Japanese Red Pine
Weeping Bald cypress
Weeping Hemlock
Weeping Blue Spruce

There are literally hundreds of weeping conifers for homeowners to start growing living art in the yard.  There are several excellent online garden sites where you can curate some unusual weepers for your yard. The best part? Staking and occasionally watering conifers are the hardest part about growing them into something where people say “Wow!”

Not surprisingly, we aren’t so different from plant life. There are times when we all need support  in order to spread out and grow into magnificent “living art”. The tree stake  that so many of us use to stake trees in our yards represents the many forms of support that enable us all to become the best that we can be in both our personal and professional lives. Our society is fast paced and we have become a world where we shoulder too much and feel like we need to do it all. Asking for help or admitting that we can’t handle a project or problem on our own leaves us feeling weak or ineffective. I have a hard time asking for assistance because I don’t like bothering others and I tell myself that I can handle what is thrown at me. Wrong!

Slowly, I feel that there is more societal acceptance brewing where people admit that we all need a little help or support – and it’s OK. The complexities of work and family have pushed many of us to pull back to try to find a better balance. Even business is pushing employees to take vacations and several have implemented programs to help create balance. Moreover, we have more choices available for support or group understanding. The Internet enables us to reach out to others anywhere in the world who may share our same concerns and frustrations.

Need some support? There are a lot of “stakes” out there to support your growth!

  1. Career and life coaches have become the norm and many companies even subsidize the cost.
  2. Group coaching for people experiencing the same issues or concerns.
  3. Certified career counselors can be very beneficial to supporting change and for encouragement.
  4. Networking groups. I have twins and when my kids were young our local Mother of Twins club kept me sane!
  5. Meetup groups are fantastic and ongoing all over the country. You can find any group to fuel a passion or be with like minds.
  6. Find a mentor. Numerous organizations have in-house programs as part of career development programs.
  7. Facebook can actually be a great resource for support. I was a member of a closed online mentoring group for a year and it was phenomenal. I met some great ladies.
  8. How about joining career groups like the AMA, Professional Speakers Association or other industry specific groups. I belong to our local Lean In group as well a local women’s group and it really helps me stay grounded. It is a safe haven to share my work balance concerns.
  9. Jump into some volunteering with a local chamber or diversity groups.You will grow professionally and support your personal enrichment.
  10. Join coworkers after work just to chat and get to know each other. You may find some new support or make a new confidant. My husband attends “beer league” at least twice a month with some coworkers and has really deepened some relationships.

Support and feeling like we are not alone is so critical in our fast paced society. Don’t try to grow alone, welcome a helping hand. When the going gets tough, find a “stake” to support you. At times I liken myself to the conifers that I support with stakes….The more support I have , the more likely I will be strengthened and become the living art that I was placed on earth to be!