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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – July 13

“Why do all the catalogs publish pictures of plants that look so beautiful?” a customer once asked me. “Why don’t they show you how the rose bush looks after the beetles have gotten to it, or how my annuals looked after a hail storm?”

I was sure that this customer knew why the catalogs published lovely photographs of plants. They want to sell you the seeds, plants or the concept of gardening. I was pretty sure she knew that these pictures are truthful, even if they weren’t the whole truth.

Sometimes people need to vent about how gardening isn’t completely perfect. But she got me thinking about how we who are passionate about gardening sell what we love.

Of course we’ll offer up the most beautiful photos of the garden. I’ll put up the picture of the blooming Dahlia but not the creepy earwigs that shredded the foliage earlier in the season and occasionally drop out of the flower. I’ll shoot the part of the veggie garden that is thriving, but leave the area where the bean seeds rotted unrecorded.

We want to share good things with each other, and gardens are a good thing. Like everything else in life, however, there are aspects of gardening that are frustrating, difficult, or strange. When you plant a garden you get the whole experience…that Whole Life Gardening thing.

Those who love plants want to sell you on gardening because we believe the benefits outweigh the frustrations and difficulties. That picture of the dahlias may not show the earwigs, but it also doesn’t show the dozens of bouquets each plant provided for the gardeners and their friends. It doesn’t show the sense of renewal that is felt when the dahlia buds burst out of the garden in the spring. And it can’t capture the satisfaction that is felt when sections of that cluster of dahlia tubers are divided and shared with fellow gardeners.

We show you the beautiful photos so you can get just a taste of the joy that lovely plants and gardening brings.

If you want the full meal, start planting.

Yes, this quarter of the garden is growing gangbusters...and another side of the garden isn't growing as well. (We think it's because of poor drainage.) But if you haven't planted a veggie garden yet, and are considering doing so, I don't want you to get bogged down in worries about things going wrong. I want you to see this photo and think, "Fresh vegetables? I can grow that!"

We passed this store window the other day. Makes you feel good, doesn't it? Funny thing,'s not a bakery. It's a perfume store. But they used the cake and cupcakes to create a happy festive mood that makes you want to stop and look if not come in and buy something. Note to self and anyone who is interested in "selling" something: create things that make people feel good and want to be a part of.

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