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Report From PIA – March 18

It was standing room only tonight at Highfield Hall, and I was pleased that so many people came out for my talk, Becoming A Better Gardener. One of my points was that we are sometimes well served to start small.

There are some plants that aren’t commonly stocked in garden centers, and if you want to grow them you’ll need to order from mail order sources. The plants you buy from catalogs or online will usually be smaller than those from a local nursery, but it’s worth it to get some of the more unusual or desirable varieties.

In difficult soils some plants may get established better if they are planted small. We all have seen trees growing out of cracks in the rocks, for example, or a self-seeded perennial that is thriving in the asphalt of a driveway. These would never have survived in these impossible growing conditions if they hadn’t started small.

We get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing a plant grow from a seedling into a large, mature specimen. We appreciate that plant in an entirely different way, knowing that we’ve nurtured it from something very tiny.

In other areas of life it’s also rewarding to nurture good things from the insignificant stage into something that’s important. Be it giving time to children, helping create a non-profit organization, or assisting with community building activities, we grow ourselves when we help cultivate people and positive pursuits.

Nelson Henderson is quoted as saying, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  In and out of the garden, where might it be beneficial to start small in order to grow something big?

This Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Goldrush' arrived only one foot tall, but in two years it's grown to four feet. I'm taking great delight in watching it develop.

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