Seems like 2020 lasted for longer than just one year. I, for one, am hoping for a less eventful year in 2021. As the calendar turns to a new year these are some of my thoughts for 2020. Well maybe they’re the same thoughts I have every year but this year they seem to have even more significance.
You, fellow gardeners, are unique. I can’t imagine any group of people more diverse and feisty and independent than gardeners. Yet we have such a connection. We love and are fascinated with nature. We find our deepest satisfaction in coaxing plants from the earth, in nurturing their growth. We are enduring pragmatists.
Enjoy your garden. Set realistic goals. After all, who cares if there are a few weeds here and there when you’re sitting under a shade tree next July? Enjoy a beverage of some kind often in your garden. That cleanup or transplanting will still be there tomorrow.
Allow some empty places for new plants, transplants or garden art. Make a garden your own. Add whatever makes you happy and your heart soar when you’re in your garden. Pay attention to the size that a plant will attain. It will save you lots of problems later. Weed often but not when you’re enjoying that beverage.
Dreaming is more than an idle pursuit. It’s good for you and improves the quality of your life over the long haul. We gardeners are eternal optimists. Why else would we plant a tree, a seed or a garden?
New Year’s resolutions for gardeners should be mere suggestions. Don’t worry if you don’t get to everything you hoped to accomplish. It’s all in the baby steps. Your wish list will serve you well during the cold, wet days of winter even if you don’t get them implemented. Sure planning a landscape that conserves water will benefit the environment and your budget and ordering seeds for the spring garden is great therapy for winter blues but there’s always next year or next month or the summer after next.
Learn something new every day. Whether it’s something new in the garden or elsewhere, keep learning.
Accept a few holes in your plants. Walk around the garden regularly to identify if a problem is getting out of control and you need to break out an organic pesticide. This is a good time to have that beverage.
Plant more edibles if you can. Edibles in the garden feed both the body and the soul. More than just vegetables and fruit, growing food connects us to the earth and to each other.
When you grow something you are being a good steward of the land as you enrich the topsoil using sustainable organic techniques. You connect with neighbors by trading your extra pumpkins for their persimmons. Knowledge of how and what to grow can be exchanged, seeds swapped. Do your best even if you only have a few containers to grow an Early Girl tomato or some Rainbow chard.
Enjoy the simple things. Laugh often. Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Every day is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.
Happy New Year from The Mountain Gardener. May your tomatoes be sweet and your roses as fragrant as a summer’s eve.
Jan Nelson, a landscape designer and California certified nursery professional, will answer questions about gardening in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Email her at [email protected], or visit jannelsonlandscapedesign.com.