Hard Truths of Gardening

There are many months where I am challenged on what to share with you horticulturally. Magazines are strewn everywhere as I look for something to serve up to you. It is equivalent to what many of us go through when deciding on what to have for dinner each night. Not again! We have the same thing all the time or I'm simply not in the mood for that.

In this month of Thanksgiving many of us will entertain family and guests. Here I invite you to join me for some fun as I treat you to the wisdom of Steve Aitken, Editor of Fine Gardening Magazine, in his editor's letter "The Hard Truths of Gardening", a past issue (Fine Gardening, October 2009, Issue 129, p.6). He highly encouraged gardeners to add some of their own points, which I have, and I know many of you could come up with something as well.

Steve was inspired by the marauding deer in his garden. They really had to go out of their way to discover and chomp down plants which they never touched before, meanwhile leaving the common hosta that he could care less about. This led Steve to confront one of the hard truths of gardening: Deer are just like people. They love plants and will eat just about anything at any time. So, he defined a hard truth to be something we know but don't want to accept-- a fact we act as if isn't true, no matter how many times reality tells us otherwise. I offer you this delightful ration of gardening hard truths to revel in:

  •  Plants die. Sometimes it's your fault, sometimes not.

  •  Lawn grass would rather grow in your garden instead of in your lawn.

  •  "No maintenance" is a figure of speech.

  •  If you water your garden, it will rain. If you don't water, it will be dry.

  •  If deer don't eat it, then rabbits, chipmunks, voles or groundhogs will.

  •  You will often buy more plants than you need or can even afford.

  •  You will always buy more plants than your spouse thinks you need or can afford.

  •  You should stop pruning while the tree still has a few branches.

  •  Weeding is not a good way to teach gardening to a young child who can't tell the

    difference between the plants you want and the ones you don't.

  •  Next year's buds can be removed if you prune at the wrong time.

  •  Late spring freezes are devastating after warm spring weather has awakened everything.

  •  A lot of plants grow larger or taller in your garden than the mature sizes listed.

  •  Flowering plants give off spectacular displays after your garden club's flower show.

  •  Landscape plantings are not meant to live happily ever after.

  •  A garden that will make you happy should reflect your individuality.

  •  Vigorous spreader suggests that the plant has a compulsion to take over your garden.

  •  For people who never gardened before there are easy flowers to grow.

  •  Trees bluntly pruned by crews around power lines are appallingly unattractive.

  •  The surest way to kill a plant is to make it the focal point of your garden.

  •  Many plants fail to bloom as a result of insufficient sunlight.

  •  Club friends understand the excitement you feel about gardening- be thankful for them.