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Doing Everything Wrong

Report From PIA – May 30

There is an old gardener’s saying that goes, “You prune when the shears are sharp.” In other words, when you get around to it. I thought of this on Friday when I was at our community garden plot. As I aimed the hose at the potatoes, I called to the guy who has the neighboring plot, “John! I’m doing everything that I tell people not to do. I’m hand watering, at night.”

Back at Poison Ivy Acres today, I set the sprinkler on my newly planted zinnias at 8 PM, and once again reflected that I am doing everything wrong. But I know that the soil was dry as dust and I need to leave the house at 7 AM tomorrow and the sun is predicted to be strong all day. If those zinnia plugs are going to get watered, it’s this evening or nothing.

As a gardener I do what I can when I can do it, but like all garden teachers and communicators, I want to teach people the best ways to be successful in the landscape. But the truth of the matter is that much of life, gardening included, is muddling through. Sometimes we have to do the best we can even when that means doing everything wrong.

2 Responses to “Doing Everything Wrong”

  1. 1
    Hilda M. Morrill:

    Dear C.L.,

    So true! We live on a small corner lot and almost everything we do is visible to neighbors and passers-by. Over the years I’ve had people stop and gently chastise me for doing something differently from the way I suggested in a lecture or column. (Planting forgotten bulbs during a January thaw, dividing perennials during a heat wave, and pollarding a small tree come to mind *:-)
    Keep inspiring!
    ~ Hilda

  2. 2
    wiseacre:

    Sometimes it’s better to have poor timing than to do nothing. But I’ll never let my wife in on that or I’d never get done with with the chores.

    If a man learns from his mistakes then I must be the smartest man alive :)