Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Garden Catalogs

The nursery catalogs are beginning to arrive. What a wonderful way to start the New Year as a gardener, looking ahead.

Be it resolved, that I:

--STOP PROCRASTINATING…which means I get on top of those weeds ASAP before they take over my life. Little messes clean up a lot easier than big ones. My happiest days in the garden have been when I grabbed my trowel at the first sign of trouble.

--PERSIST. When in doubt, repeat. After two preemptive weeding sessions, pesky interlopers actually start to get the message. I am not going to let them prevail. Perhaps the same approach will carry over into my exercise regimen. Ya never know.

--SIMPLIFY. It has been obvious for years now that those iris clumps are too crowded. Disturbing them may interrupt their blooming for a season, but the alternatives are worse. Too much closeness can be very unhealthy. Root rot sets in. Borers have a field day. Time to bite the bullet and thin ‘em out.

--LOOK FOR THE SILVER LININGS. If I tackle the tough stuff, like thinning out the beds, it can be a wrenching process. Then again, in the process I gain an excuse to meet that new neighbor and take over a chopped-off gallon milk jug filled with the best of the excess. My plants become ambassadors of friendship flourishing in new ground.

--LEARN THAT TIMING IS ALL. I lost my Shasta daisies three years ago. I miss them. If Shastas are too fragile, then maybe it’s time to explore other varieties that are hardier. Knowing when to replant and when to give it up is an art not a science, I am discovering. There is a time for all things.

--DREAM. The wonderful thing about seed catalogs is their sense of promise, just waiting to be fulfilled. Those photos and lush descriptions speak to the dreamer in us, speak of hope when our garden is at its bleakest. The realist in us fights back with arguments like maybe our climate zone is too harsh or that introducing something new into our garden is too risky—it takes work. But then gardening is always a leap of faith…and maybe that’s a good thing.

The days are getting longer. Imperceptibly at first, but soon we will feel the warming sun against our faces, marvel at the scent of spring on the wind. As children of the earth, that cycle grounds us.

At this time of giving and celebration, maybe those simple junk-mail catalogs, arriving unbidden every day, are among the most precious gifts of all. I wish you Happy New Year and happy gardening.