From The Garden of Ed. Submitted for publication in The Towne Crier on December 28, 2005

Another Year! Pick Your Garden Resolution(s).

This morning I witnessed the early sunlight illuminate the moths flying about in between the large fluffy snowflakes, and I felt so privileged to be alive.

If you own a little bit of property, I have to think the first one resolution that you might adopt is to recycle that Christmas tree rather than burning it. It is mulch for your perennials in the waiting, and cover from wind, cold and predators for the birds.

Here's a bouquet of other resolutions for your consideration:

Investigate the native habitat of some of your houseplants. Invite friends to do the same. Have a winter party in their honor, and share the information with one another. Margaritas, anyone?

Resolve to divide all your perennials that will benefit from this, and either share them with your friends and neighbors, or start a new bed.

Try to put in at least one hour a day, or one chunk of a day each week on your garden(s) or yard.

Resolve to make at least one part of your home grounds a four season showplace. It can be very small, but it will be yours with pride.

Interested in becoming a true, "off the grid" independent? Try to plant everything from seed. Many do, you know.

Start planning this new year's garden while there's still plenty of snow on the ground equals plenty of time to plan.

Resolve to stay ahead of the weeds, no matter what. Choose a small area, at first, and expand as you become successful. It can be done.

Reign in the plant craving. Resolve to exercise superb self-control when out and about purchasing plants. Have your notes at hand as you would when food shopping. Don't shop when you're starving. Shop when you're satiated.

If you have another garden in the wings that's had to take a back seat to other priorities (soccer practice, divorce, child bearing, a new job, whatever...) resolve to tackle it in stages. Bring it back, slowly, step by step, with help when you can get it, and be happy for whatever resurrection you can achieve. It and you are on your way!

Starting a garden journal is a most satisfying activity, and provides a great record from season to season of successes and disappointments to learn from and pass on. It's a lot like a diary, except you can plan it ahead, chapter and verse, map and all, and when the growing season arrives, you are ready to write, note, swear, sing and/or boast. It might include great detail such as when so and so first sprouted from seed, what the temps were, when it was planted, what visitors to the garden were observed, be they avian or mammalian, etc., etc.. The greater the detail, the more you've read Thoreau and Burroughs among others.

Resolve to grow the most beautiful one (something) among your friends. Inspire them to do the same. Sounds like another party coming for late summer with sharing and all. Maybe Labor Day would be appropriate.

Begin a compost heap. None of this is rocket science. It's simple, straightforward, and will surprise you with rewards if you've never done it before. Talk to anyone who has.

Resolve to satisfy the inner cook by growing at least one vegetable and one herb to feed yourself and maybe a family member or two. If you are ambitious, do more than one. The chef-gardener is becoming a common occurence.

Promise yourself and put it on the calendar that you will clean and organize the potting/planting-table/shed. You'll thank yourself the remainder of the year, and maybe keep it that way.

Replace some of a grass/lawn area with interesting rocks, garden alternatives like ground covers, architecture such as a gazebo, trellis, bench, statue, or whatever strikes your fancy. Maybe a windmill, or water garden, or rock garden, or a new flower bed. Any of these would be more interesting than the old monoculture.

Purchase a new tool this year, even if it's just a new pair of outdoor scissors to spare the sewing shears you too often grab. An edger for your beds would be nice, too.

Resolve to learn more about the life cycles and reproductive habits of beneficial and pest insects. Learn how to attract the beneficials for natural pest control.

Make a list of all the things you wish to do and then tackle them one at a time beginning with the most enjoyable.

Resolve to become a more conscious water saver by beginning a xeriscape garden with drought tolerant plants, diligent mulching, drip irrigation or soaker devices.

Deadheading regularly will provide you with more attractive beds and with lots more blossoms. Resolve to go out and do this weekly.

Take lots of pictures, starting early on when beds and gardens are just getting started, and then each week or whenever noticeable progress can be recorded. Take close-ups and broad panoramic shots.

Put in one bed specifically for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. A protected (from cats) birdbath or water feature will have lots of others coming, too.

Visit a nursery that specializes in native plants, and promise yourself to buy at least one for your yard and garden.

Resolve to continually snip herbs to prevent them from flowering. Use them fresh whenever possible, but dry the extra cuttings for future use in the winter.

Create a garden room as a welcome place to escape to and relax while still at home.

Resolve to visit other gardens and/or subscribe to a gardening magazine. The ideas will come cascading in. The inspiration will motivate you in new ways.

Resolve to have a healthy, productive, and satisfying "growing" experience in every sense of the word. Extend it to those you care about.


From The Garden of Ed. Submitted for publication in The Towne Crier on December 28, 2005

© 2005 Ed Mues. All Rights Reserved.