Dreams and aspirations for my garden

>> Monday, January 7, 2008

I am looking forward to the rebirth of my garden with the anticipation of a father expecting his first child. Even though I know I mulched it, I worry “Did I mulch it well enough?” I weeded it in hopes of preventing some small amount of weeds from getting a foothold over the winter under that carefully laid out mulch. But was it enough?

For now, all I can do is wait. Waiting is difficult for someone who likes doing things. Waiting is even more difficult for someone who has experienced the loss of plants for whatever unknown reason and has begun to doubt himself for not knowing, and since winter is the harsh mistress it is, I realize that some plants just won’t make it.

My garden is expanding, and with it, my experience. But this is no guarantee that this season’s garden will live up to my expectations.

My dreams are to see healthier fuller plants, tastier fruits, more birds, more butterflies, more beneficial insects (which means more non-beneficial insects so this is a double edged sword).

I want to delight in the sounds and fragrances wafting from the garden on every breeze, to be delighted with the constantly changing colors and textures that only a healthy, thriving, well-laid out garden can provide.

I want people to stop and enjoy the activity as well as the static loveliness a well-cared for garden promises.

Is this asking for too much? Perhaps, but dreams are what they are and without them nothing is much worth the effort.

One aspect of having this ‘down-time’ from gardening is it offers the opportunity to examine gardening habits. So, just as I have done in winters past, I reflect over the year to see what I need to change in order to make things, in general, work ‘better’ or ‘more smoothly’.

A garden is one of those things we bring into our lives for the enjoyment of it, to make our lives richer and more rewarding, and so the maintenance of it becomes a labor of love.

Even though it is a labor of love, the mechanics of gardening can become routine and tedious so we take short cuts to get things done quicker in order to give our attention to more ‘pressing’ and ‘demanding’ parts of our lives. Sometimes we may skip or put off a chore until later. This can become a bad habit to get into.

Some bad habits I find myself getting into that I hope to correct this year are:

Throwing compost material in the trash. I simply do not have a good compost system going yet. Even though, intellectually, I jnow it is worth it.
Buying too many seeds that never get started due to lack of space for them or not enough time or space to start them all.
Putting fall cleanup chores off until spring. This past fall I did press myself to get a lot more of it done than in years past. So this part s getting better, if I can make it a habit.
Not pruning my shrubs/trees so they can bloom to their fullest potential. It’s more the overcoming the fear of screwing it up so badly that I do more harm than good that keeps me from doing it.
Starting container plants and not feeding them regularly enough for their fullest potential. They need much more attention than plants in the garden.
Not tagging and organizing garden photos so I can find them when needed. This has got to change.
Waiting a little too long to put bulbs in the ground or applying winter mulch.

I’m sure there are other bad habits I have gotten myself into but this list is painful enough so I’m going to leave it here. I can see I have my work cut out for me if I hope to correct these habits and keep up with all the other things a garden requires.

In an attempt to ease the pain from listing these bad habits, I am going to have to list some good habits.

I feed the birds everyday and make sure they have fresh water.

Wow, that’s pretty pathetic if this is the best I can do for listing good habits. So, I will have to delve into the art of rationalization.

My garden gets watered and fed fairly frequently.

Oh well, here’s another attempt at rationalization, I prefer to look at these ‘bad-habits’ as the nuances that mark each of us an individual. So what if the photo system is in disarray? Who cares if your patio plants are not going to be some botanical society’s poster subject? The enjoyment of getting out there and doing something creative is a reward in itself and we don’t “need no stinkin’ pressure” on us to detract from that enjoyment.

We all have lives outside of the garden and priorities have to be set and adhered to.

Nature is very forgiving. So what if the 2008 edition of my garden doesn’t live up to my dreams? And so what if my aspirations don’t necessary jibe with what nature will allow me to do? I do love doing it. And that means eventually everything will come together.


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