February 2018

10 things I learned from my garden in 2010

Chipmunk damaged hostas. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Chipmunk damaged hostas. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

C.L. Fornari, who blogs at Whole Life Gardening, challenged fellow bloggers to consider what we learned from our gardens in 2010. Here’s my response.

10. Plants need water to thrive. We’ve had the driest August since 1897, and the longest stretch without rain in more than 45 years. Even established shrubs have dropped their leaves or turned brown.

9. Plants are incredibly resilient. Even though the summer has been brutal, almost all of the plugs of new plants I received to trial this year have survived in quart or gallon pots. I’m waiting for cool temps to transplant to the ground.

8. Even though we’ve had no rain or very little rain for weeks, the grass looks like it’s going to survive. Yes, it’s brown, but healthy turf grass is the one plant in the landscape that can go the longest without water.

7. I’ve learned to tell the difference between scorched plants and those that have adapted to protect themselves from the heat, by curling or dropping their leaves. I’ve also learned to recognize heat stress does not always mean plants need more water.

6. I’ve learned not to locate my bird feeder within chipmunk jumping distance to the ground and my hosta bed.

5. I grew sweet corn for the first time and was really taken with the way the newly sprouted seedlings looked like grass. Reminded me that corn is a grain and not a vegetable.

4. I’m grateful for minimal leaf disease on my tomatoes this year, which have been pretty productive, considering how little water they’ve received.

3. I continue to cherish the tough,  long blooming plants in the garden, such as the KnockOut roses and Hydrangea paniculata. Coleus can absolutely take the heat and is extremely drought tolerant.

2. I’m sick of watering. Did I mention I work in a garden center? Dragging hoses, watering, fixing leaking hoses, unkinking them, getting the hoses around pillars and concrete blocks, fixing leaking hoses, watering some plants twice a day. No wonder I don’t water a lot at home.

1. The heat and drought has renewed my conviction that gardening teaches us patience. Now, I just have to wait until next year to see which plants made it through this long, hot and dry summer.

2 comments to 10 things I learned from my garden in 2010

  • This is a great list of lessons, especially that last one on patience. We are in such a hurry to learn patience, now.

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