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Gardening & The School of Dumb Luck

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Report From PIA – March 12

Today I spoke about perennial bed maintenance at a Backyard Horticulture class, and when I got home, read Tim Wood’s post at his Plant Hunter blog. The class was a group of about 45 people who’ve signed on to a series of talks about all aspects of home landscaping. Tim’s blog says that these folks might as well forget about these classes because, “You just have to dig a hole and put a plant in it and water it a bit.”

Not so fast, Tim. While I applaud the notion that people should relax and recognize that there are many ways to grow a garden, I’d hate for anyone to miss the joy of learning about plants and working, yes working, to create something beautiful. One way to learn is to stick the plant in the hole and either be amazed at how well it did or wonder why it didn’t do so well. This is the School of Dumb Luck and it has many attendees.

But I think that people are often more curious, thoughtful and interested in success. They want to know that the shrub that commonly costs forty dollars or more has a good chance of making it, and they appreciate finding just the right plant to grace their property. I think that gardeners also like to understand, if possible, why something sulked, died, or took over their entire garden. Enquiring minds want to know.

It is possible to be relaxed, adventurous, hardworking and intellectually engaged by the garden (and everything else) all at the same time. And the bottom line is that I believe that careers, marriages, friendships, gardens and the horticultural books that Tim says aren’t necessary, are all enhanced when effort is put toward their creation and improvement.

“Work” is not a four-letter word…it’s Whole Life Gardening.

This photo was taken when the entry garden was exactly one year old. Most of the plants that were put into this garden were quite small, but still the garden looked great after one year because I did NOT just dig a hole and stick the plant in. We tilled under the lawn, shoveled lots of composted horse manure into the area, and then tilled it all again. Then we planted into this loosened, enriched mix.

7 comments to Gardening & The School of Dumb Luck

  • The beautiful morning light (which you recognized as perfect for the time to make this image) didn’t hurt either!

  • Rich,
    One of the delightful things about Poison Ivy Acres is that the gardens are lit by both the morning and evening sun. This makes even the most boring of plants look magical, as you well know!

  • I did a bit of brief research on blogs entries about luck for my post on “luck in the garden.” Yours was the only one I turned up, hope you don’t mind I linked to it in my post this week.

    Christine in Alaska

  • Of course I don’t mind, Christine! I look forward to checking out your blog. Funny that mine was the only one to talk about luck; you’d think that there would be hundreds, since Lady Luck seems to be Mother Nature’s assistant gardener sometimes…

  • […] that she searched for another blog about gardening and luck, but the only one she came up with was my post of the other day. This seems strange because we gardeners often think that Lady Luck seems to be […]

  • Lovely photo.

    I agree the very best gardens are produced by hard work and research but a certain amount of luck can be associated with gardening. If one lives in an area with abundant rainfall and good soil, he is lucky. The rest of us must make good soil and work with plants that don’t require a lot of moisture.

    I think to be perfectly fair, your garden looks lovely but the plants are really a small part of this photo. The stonework is the backbone of this garden. The lovely wooded setting in the background is also a big part.

  • […] responded to this in another post here, but was reminded of the “Is Gardening Too Complicated?” topic when I read Seth Godin’s […]