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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – April 2

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m always interested in how everything connects with everything else. Gardeners who have their eyes and minds open soon discover this to be true. Ditto for naturalists and those interested in the environment.

But although the connections between soil biology, plants, insects and mammals are pretty obvious, the links between the garden and our daily lives are not always as clear. Yet they are there, if we’re willing to look.

I often think that most people aren’t interested in making the effort. They want plants that thrive and grace their landscape with attractive forms and flowers. Fair enough. I want that too. But in the garden and in life, there are rewards in digging deeper.

Today I was called to see ways that my dog, a Skimmia, some tomato seedlngs and a Facebook Group conversation all have something in common. Here’s what I found:

The Dog is a party animal. He just wants to play, play, play. I take him outside to pee and poop and he wants to attack, subdue and prance with a stick.

Party, party, play, play.

The Skimmia is a male, and is doing what this sex shrub does best all winter: bloom. It’s turned a bit yellowish, however, because it’s exposed to afternoon sun in the winter time. I appreciate the flowers while acknowledging that the foliage color would be better in another location.

The pH is on the acid side, and it's been fertilized. The plant is, and will be again, darker green in the summer when the oak leaves provide shade.

The tomato seedlings have sprouted and are starting to grow. They wait for the sun, however, and remain a bit gangly until more light and warmth fill the greenhouse. The table filled with flats of young tomatoes practically sags under the weight of all that potential.

Up and in a holding pattern...

And then there is the conversation on a particular Facebook group I belong to. It runs down a predictable path and is oh too reminiscent of high school. Adults who spend time making negative comments about another company instead of using their considerable talents to build for the common good.

How does this all connect? The dog, the Skimmia, the tomatoes and the Facebook group members are all just being themselves. Which is useful information, if you’re willing to see it this way. I can no more change the way some people choose to spend their time commenting in a Facebook group than I could alter how my dog approaches the stick. Everything has its own nature.

I might want my Skimmia to be darker green, but unless I’m willing to transplant it to a location where it doesn’t get as much direct sun in the winter, its leaves aren’t going to change. The tomato seedlings won’t take off and grow quickly and sturdily, unless they get enough sun and heat.

I, of course, can do only what I can do. I can move the Skimmia…or not. I can heat the greenhouse where the tomatoes are growing, and provide them with more light…or not. I can laugh at the dog and appreciate who he is…or not. I can read all the comments in the Facebook group and be annoyed…or not. The bottom line is that the only change I can make is in myself.

Everything is connected to everything else, and sometimes the garden seems to be a reminder to read the first four lines of the Serenity Prayer.

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