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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.

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