There’s a scene in Jerry Maguire where his mentor, Dicky Fox, says, as he points to his heart, “If this doesn’t work,” “Then,” as he points to his head, “this doesn’t matter.” It’s the same thing with any hobby, any career or anything in life. You have to go into it with your heart first. You have to want it, you have to love the idea of what you’re pursuing.

Gardening is a journey that starts with learning about plants and everything else involved with gardening. But after you take the first steps, the most important thing to understand is that the beauty and joy of gardening comes from within the heart.

If gardening is a labor of love, your passion will grow. You will find joy in pulling weeds, in trimming bushes, in nurturing plants and in tending to them constantly. Talking to your plants, as silly as that sounds, is very important, because they hear you and they want to be nurtured. You will come to look at your garden as if you’re looking at a child or a pet that constantly needs attention or repair.

Every season will offer challenges and rewards. There may be too much rain, too much heat and sun, cold temperatures, hurricanes and storms. But snipping off dead branches and fluffing them up a little bit is a joy when it comes from the heart. Spending time just admiring your plants, pruning, fertilizing and watering, even if it’s just a little spritz here and there, are all the little things that will bring you joy.

To keep plants going, you’ll have to spend time nursing them back to health and recognizing the signs when they are hurting, such as yellowing, wilting and curling. As the years go by, you will learn more and more about the science and techniques of gardening. But from the beginning, treat gardening as a labor of love that starts from the heart.

All of the things you do for your garden take time, and a farmer’s main virtue is patience. That’s the beauty of gardening: there is a science behind it and there are things you can do to make sure your garden does well. But it takes time.  The key to gardening is to love it, and loving the idea of watching your plants grow and prosper, year in and year out.