The Gardening Year in Review

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
The Gardening Year in Review

By now, several decades of gardening wisdom later, you’d think I’d know just about all there is to know about gardening.

But even to this day, something I’m still fond of saying, and reminded of constantly is this; no matter how much you know about gardening, there’s always more to learn.

This year was no exception. Although I’m not out in my own garden as much as in years past, I’m more involved in ever in the gardens and gardening lives of others. With a national television show that travels the country, I’m fortunate to experience if only for a day at a time, the many diverse gardens and growing regions in the course of a year.

So looking back over the year from the vantage point of some spectacular gardens, I’m reminded of the wisdom behind a few timeless adages and enlightened by just how universal they are. Here are a few that come to mind.

There are only a few things in life that are certain. We commonly know of two: death and taxes. But there’s a third: weeds. I don’t use herbicides, so that time I’d use for spray is spent mulching (always a good thing) and focusing on improving the health of the plants I do want to grow. Yet, weeds like that same treatment. Mother Nature has a plan even for lowly weeds in the food chain of life, so she sees to it that their lifecycle continues even without our help. But knowing that weeds are here to stay and that even with my efforts at reducing their populations, I can be more tolerant of their existence and accepting of the time I’ll have to allocate to dealing with them.

Sometimes we can love a plant to death. More plants die each year due to overwatering then under. Yet sometimes they just die on their own but with far less frequency than when we get involved. That’s not to say we gardeners shouldn’t be involved with our gardens. But plants have existed long time before we ever came along and they didn’t get to where they are today by ignoring the law of survival of the fittest. So with that tidbit, I hope you’ll remember to water less and allow nature to take its course. Your plants will be healthier and you’ll safe a lot of water in the process.

Speaking of watering, if you want it to rain, water your plants or lawn. If you don’t want it to rain, whatever you do, don’t water.

When it comes to buying plants, know that you will come home with plants you never intended to buy and have no idea where you’ll plant them. Over the years, I’ve gotten slightly better at exercising restraint, but I still consider myself a plantaholic. Every spring, I find myself loading up the car with new annuals and perennials that I hope to eventually find time to plant. One year it got so bad with all the plants lining the driving waiting to be planted, my neighborhood beautification committee created and presented me with the “driveway of the year” award. There’s no rhyme or reason to my buying habits. Just caulk it up admitting I’m a sucker for the next great plant. I’m still waiting for someone to create a 12-step program for gardeners like me.

And maybe this will be the year I actually make a plan before I place my seed order. I tell myself that every year yet still succumb to the temptation of thinking I’ll actually plant everything I order. I never do. At least I’ve matured to knowing I don’t need to plant all 72 cells of my seed tray with the same variety of tomato, just as I don’t need 72 tomato plants of multiple varieties. But a guy can dream and it sure is fun to grow all those plants from seed. And hey, even if they don’t get planted, they’ll look great in the driveway.