The Imperfect Gardener #15


Before you get panicky and anxious, this is not a post about the election, politics or a state of the Union in any shape or form. No, this is more of a look back at what I won’t miss form 2016 in the garden.


Feeling guilty. There is huge push to save the earth through our gardens. Lawns are demonized, certain plants are met with disdain and everything we do has to be to save the earth, pollinators, birds or the micro blue gray snail with the red speckled shell. OK that last one was fictitious, but you know what I mean.  Everything we do in life and in the garden seems to have a greater purpose, meaning or message. It’s getting to be a bit too much for this gardener, but when I take a step back I realize that a good gardener is already an ecologist of sorts. This year we had a booth at The Plant Sale called ‘Flying Friends’, the focus being to create a garden in which a diversity of food sources was blooming or forming berries or seeds throughout the entire year.  I have continued this focus on flower and food diversity throughout the year and have told people we don’t necessarily need to complicate things and be strategic; gardeners, in pursuing color all year, are often inherently providing great habitat.  So let’s just continue doing what we do best, but with a greater cognizance of the importance of our decisions.

What I would like to see us doing next year with our little plots of land is to have fun, create a space that makes us happy, stirs our creative juices and adds beauty- first and foremost. Then while you sit down to make your plant list make sure the dirty dozen are not on the list and toss in some native berry producing plants, a water source and some winter cover. If you do that, you have already made the earth a little bit better, and most definitely prettier.

Unnecessary Stress – Don’t stress out!  Is this the best plant? Is this the best place for this plant? What if I over water, or under water?  I hear stresses like this all the time from newer gardeners. My friends, relax. I know we love them, talk to them and take more photographs of them than our own children, but they are just plants (Gasp!) You can buy a new one if it dies, you can move it if it looks sad and most of all, you will learn how to do better each year you work in your garden.

Shaming– Her design may not be to your liking and his plants may not all be locally sourced natives, but it’s not your garden so keep your negative remarks to yourself. The quickest way to turn off a new gardener who may evolve into a wonderful gardener is to  bombard them with negative volleys at every turn in the garden path. Unless it’s a professional who should know better especially when it comes to proper care and maintenance it’s really not our place to cast doubt on another’s creation. Be kind with your words, share you enthusiasm and knowledge and remember you have complete control over your garden alone.

So that Dirty Dozen I alluded to… I am compiling a list of plants to avoid. Perhaps they are wildly invasive, woefully unprepared to live in our zone, even though they are for purchase in every nursery on the block or simply failures- these are plants that you should avoid for the love of nature, your sanity and your pocket book.

Stay tuned.

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