I volunteer for Allexperts.com, a free service where people can ask questions about a wide range of topics. I’m listed as an expert on annuals, but people write to me with all kinds of plant questions, and I’m happy to help them out.
Sometimes the person whose question was answered responds with a little note, and recently I received the following thank you: “Wow, That was the most thorough and understandable answer I’ve ever gotten. Thanks so much. I’m a new gardener and am realizing every plant has its own set of rules.”
What a great way to put it, and how true: “Every plant has its own set of rules.” When I teach about perennial bed maintenance I often compare perennial gardening to teaching a second grade class. “Teachers have a class of 20 or more students,” I’ll tell my audiences, “and each of them has a different learning style. Your job is to meet the varying needs of all those students and still keep an orderly classroom.”
We gardeners need to meet the needs of all of our individual plants, and at the same time cultivate a living and lovely garden… although “orderly” is optional.
As a garden communicator, one of my jobs is to teach each plant’s rules, to make them easily understandable and to help people find a way to appreciate the plants that surround them. As a human being on this planet, I need remember that other people and situations all have their own set of rules as well. All circumstances can’t be approached in the same way.
Every part of life’s gardens takes flexibility, the desire to learn, and the willingness to work on the cultivation.