Gardeners know that the calendar year is an artificial construct. It’s not even so much that the new year really begins in spring, as that to everything there is a season. Consequently, I find the concept of New Year’s resolutions rather alien to my thinking and way of life. I am resolving to do better at one thing or another throughout the year as it is brought to my attention. This blogging challenge put me in mind to share some of my garden-related resolutions with you.
- Most important resolution: Get stronger. They say a gardener’s hands are her most important tools, but what good are hands without strong arms, shoulders, back . . . you get the idea. I’ve learned from personal experience that gardening is a lot more fun when the heavy work isn’t such a struggle. And increased strength decreases the kind of muscle sprains that can sideline a gardener who doesn’t want to spare a minute on the sidelines. But yeah, it takes time to build up strength–and maintain it. And every gardening season I eventually start stealing from my weight lifting time to spend more time in the garden. So right after the holidays I resolve to get back to weight training, and go beyond my personal best. By the time spring rolls around, I hope to be lifting more weight than when I quit the last time. I go to this site for inspiration.
- Longest-standing resolution: I’m not getting back into starting plants from seed until I can get them in the ground in a timely manner. Starting them under lights when it’s still snowing is great. But when it gets warm enough to work outside my time and attention are split, and the extremely pot-bound seedlings (the ones not killed by lack of water) finally get planted in mid- to late June. I finally decided to stop the madness until further notice. Seeds that are directly planted in the ground, such as larkspur and poppies, are still okay.
- Most-broken resolution: This is an extension of the resolution above. Filled with disgust at my inability to maintain my flower beds, I vowed to quit buying plants all together until I could clean up my act. The exceptions followed almost immediately. I accepted plants from friends. (This at least adhered to the letter of the law: I didn’t buy them.) I decided replacing plants that died over the winter was permissible. I rationalized that I couldn’t write an article about the best places to buy plants in Ithaca, NY without actually buying some plants, now could I? And, well, at least I limited my fall bulb buying spree. Plant lust is a force to be reckoned with. In the end, I brought home less plants than usual, but my most weed-infested beds have yet to be rehabilitated.
- Most embarrassing resolution: “I, Kathy Purdy, do hereby resolve to throw out, discard, compost or otherwise get rid of any and all cut flowers which no longer look good, including but not limited to faded, wilted, and petal-less blossoms, and especially including all plant material which is growing mold or has started to smell.” I don’t know why this is so difficult for me to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s dandelions my kids picked out of the lawn or flowers I cut from the garden and carefully arranged, I am somehow oblivious to the signs of decay until one day waking up as if from a dream and realizing there are half a dozen or more vessels of desiccated or putrid former plant life on various windowsills and counters. I’m obviously suffering from the synergistic effect of several bad habits, but when I’m preparing to toss a prostrate dandelion and a young voice pipes up, “Don’t throw that out, it’s still pretty!” I begin to wonder if a genetic component is also involved. I’ve been working on this for several years but have seen only limited improvement.
How about you? What resolutions of a gardening kind have you made–and what prompted them?