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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – February 19

We gardeners try so hard. From soil amendments to fertilizers, from plant supports to pest control, we strive to help our gardens in every way possible. And all this work is worthwhile, we say, so that our plants can have the perfect environment for success.

Maybe. Or maybe not. Anyone who has gardened for any length of time knows that sometimes we can do everything right and the plants still die. In other instances, we might do everything wrong and the plants survive. All of our efforts might help…or they may not.

We took advantage of the sunny day and walked on Sandy Neck beach today. All around me were plants that were growing in pure sand. No one had fertilized or amended the area with compost or loam. No one was watering and there was certainly no burlap hung to protect from winter winds.

Granted, there was a limited variety of shrubs, trees and grasses that grew here. But those that thrived looked strong, healthy and beautiful even though it was the dormant season.

There is wisdom here. Sometimes we gardeners might be helping too much. Perhaps we should confine our efforts to a few selected areas, while giving the majority of our properties over to Mother Nature. We can add, subtract and otherwise tend, but when we’re searching for perfection we just might want to remember that plants in the wild have no such expectations.

In our gardens and in our lives, perfection and imperfection might just be one and the same.

Straight red cedars that have never been staked. Shrubs and perennials that have never been fertilized. Soil that has only been amended by the wind and rain. Perfection? I'd say so.

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