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Report From PIA – April 13

I run a consultation service for an independent garden center, and this spring my voicemail box is filled earlier than usual. The weather in late March and early April has been better than usual, so it’s not surprising that everyone wants a consultation now.

In the course of the day at the garden center I also spoke to one of the plant vendors about an incoming shipment of annuals, and he asked how many people we expected to attend an upcoming event. “It all depends on the weather,” I sighed, “because as you well know, a garden center’s business completely relies on the weather.”

It’s always amazed me that the average American won’t shop for plants unless the sun is shining. I’m an out-of-control plant person so I can be found at a garden center in a monsoon, or shopping online at midnight. But the typical home landscaper seems to need direct, full-on sun in order to buy plants.

As someone who believes that gardening is good for people, I wish this wasn’t the case. I’d like to wave a magic wand and instantly transform an entire population’s predilection for fair weather landscaping.

Looking deeper, however, I realize that most people are creatures of habit. We bake cookies and give them to friends and neighbors during Christmas holidays but not on a random day in March or August. We buy new clothes for a party, going back to school or the start of a new job, but may not make those same purchases casually unless these garments are on sale. And we think of gardens and gardening when it’s pleasant to be outdoors.

Getting even more metaphorical, I think that when our personal, emotional weather is good we’re able to start new projects and pursuits, but if our life is stormy or unsettled we’re less able to be creative or expanding.

Is there anything to be done about our “weather dependency?” Observation and recognition is a first step forward. When you notice that you’re reacting to the weather, whether it’s out your window or in your emotions, you have the option to decide to move in another direction.

We’re only as dependant on our weather as we think we are.

When the sun shines our hearts lift, there's no doubt about it. But if we only think about gardening in sunny weather, aren't we limiting ourselves, and denying opportunities and openings?

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