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Report From PIA – March 15

I got a comment from Christine over at Last Frontier Garden today. It seems 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 Mother Nature’s right-hand woman.

The second topic that rose out of the day was a caustic comment about garden coaches on another blog. A writer wrote that some call themselves garden coaches “hoping someone will hire them so they can show off how much they know while charging a huge amount to ‘help’ some unsuspecting suburbanites learn about perennials or pickling cucumbers.” Ouch.

I don’t know what has happened to make this writer so bitter, but I not only believe in the value of garden coaches (figures, since I am one) but I also speak at green industry conferences explaining why garden centers should offer this service. There are several advantages for the garden center, of course, but the primary benefit is for the client.

Most of my consultation customers are tired of depending on Lady Luck in their gardens…she seems to fail them regularly.  Where was LL when it was time to picking out foundation shrubs that won’t block the windows, or identify which plant is a perennial and which one a weed? Where was she when the spouse decided to basal-prune their Nikko Blue hydrangeas?

I think of the days when I was a beginning cook. The times I used a cookbook the meals came out pretty well, but when LL was my sous-chef, they could be downright inedible. Why didn’t LL tell me what happens when you bake avocados?

When I need something I can’t do myself, I want someone who is trained in that field to help me. No offense, Lady Luck, but when my heart became jumpy a couple of weeks ago, I wanted a doctor, not you. When there were questions about a covenant attached to the property we were buying, I wanted a lawyer, and when my body is a wreck from too much gardening, I want an experienced massage therapist. And when it comes to their yards and gardens, my clients want me.

Oh, don’t worry, LL… you still have a place in my life. I’ll gladly accept all help when it comes to marginally hardy plants… and the lottery.

As a garden coach/consultant, one of the things I do is identify plants and explain to my client how to care for them. On one visit, the woman couldn't wait until we got into the backyard, because "I don't know what I'm doing wrong with this sweet perennial that was there when we bought the house. Every summer it just disappears!" She was very relieved to know that this is just what Virginia bluebells do, and even more pleased when I suggested some annuals she could plant next to this perennial that would add color during the summer.

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