Gardening, 101

photo  Foliage provides color that lasts for months, not just a few weeks in the garden and requires almost no maintenance. Shrubs and evergreens stay green all on their own. Who knew this was a desirable feature?

   Not I. When I started gardening, all that interested me was a nonstop array of colorful flowers. I wanted a lush crush of English style blooms, and I wasn’t going to waste precious garden space on boring fillers like trees.

  Only I don’t live on a misty island with mild temperatures year around. Nor do I have the full time help necessary to maintain that lush English look.  Mere details.

       I merrily skipped over all those boring bits about creating good soil, weeding, edging beds so they look crisp, limiting my plant selections to what fit my site, my zone, and my available time.  Blah, blah, blah . . .

I was going to focus on the good stuff. Towering stands of blue delphiniums! Pink roses spilling over ancient stone walls! Lupine that rose like multi-colored firecrackers to the sky.  Staggering beauty that took your breath away!

Okay, a bit of an exaggeration.

Sadly, not very much, though.

But that’s the real beauty of gardening. You’re allowed to fix your mistakes. The threadleaf cypress pictured above is now one of my favorites plants in the garden. It’s big, it’s green, and I see its presence as a living testament to my growth as gardener.

One of the most deeply satisfying things to me about gardening is that you can always deepen your understanding of the elements that make a garden fabulous. No one ever knows everything.

Each gardener gradually finds his or her passion, but you always know there’s more.  More to learn, more to try.

I love that.

Don’t you?

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