A Plowman on his legs is higher
than a gentleman on his knees
--Poor Richard's Almanack
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins
--At Parting, A.C. Swineburne
Il faut cultiver son jardin
(One needs only cultivate one's garden)
Whose garden was this?
It must have been lovely.
Did it have flowers?
--Whose Garden Was This?,
I live on a spread of North Florida dirt and read Mother Earth News. It is a constant struggle to keep my homesite from growing back into a wilderness state. If one wishes to improve and maintain a garden bed, fertilizing and weeding is the name of the game.
Risking sounding like Sellers' pseudo-brilliant Chance the Gardener, Ranger sees a correlate between gardening and Counterinsurgency and nation-building. Yardmen who just mow may keep the level of foliage down, but the mowing is constant and yields no improvement; nothing lovely will be created, and the weeds await takeover.
When leaders and generals function like ordinary yardmen, the terrain may be kept to a certain level of damage, but all of the invasive weeds, seeds and roots are still there, ready to overtake the terrain once the weekly mowing ceases. We wonder how many of today's leaders and generals have hoed a row themselves, for if they did, they would be able to import some very important life lessons.
The only way to create a garden is to follow the farmer's rules.
 You must begin with fertile ground, or enrich the soil
 The ground must be properly prepared prior to laying in a crop, which includes tilling and elimination of all roots and weeds. Mowing and weeding is futile without root extirpation. You can't cut down a tree without grinding the stump.
 The crop must be compatible with the soil in which it is to be sown (siltiness, ph, etc.), and the available sunlight.
 The garden must be protected, either by enclosure or other preventative measures
 Your neighbors cannot walk or play in your garden
 Crops must be watered and fertilized
 If seeking to profit, you will have a market for your crop
 Not all crops develop and mature (which is why commercial farmers have crop insurance)
 You should have all tools in place before breaking ground
 You must use quality seed
 You must plant within the optimum time frame
These basic farming rules are transferable to the endeavor of nation building, the growing of a society. For what is a culture but an aggregate of individual gardens?
--Mr. Green Jeans