February 2018

Grateful for this and all seasons

In winter, snow flowers form on the branches of shrubs and other plants. © Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Another year in the garden is about to close, which is a good time to reflect on the past growing season.

I’m grateful for the flowers, fruits and vegetables produced in the landscape. And what I don’t grow in my own garden, I’m thankful for friends and farmers markets to supplement my picking.

I’m thankful for the deciduous trees for their shade and windbreaks. Besides being evergreen, conifers also play a role as protected perches for birds waiting their turns at the feeders.

Each year enhances my appreciation for birds. In my yard, most of the birds are desired because of their colors, calls, habits and beauty. Even the birds considered pests have some redeeming value, such as their ability to mimic or iridescent colors. They all enrich nature with their sound.

This year, I beat the birds to pick my own plants of blueberries and goji berries. I look forward to a slightly larger harvest in 2014, which should include red raspberries. Plant breeders have had phenomenal success at developing fruits that produce well when grown in containers. I hear there are a lot more of these breakthroughs still to come.

With another summer of heat, humidity and little rainfall, I’m grateful for the rain we do get, even in spring when it’s too wet to work in the yard. I think that the last few years with little summer rainfall has made Hoosiers a bit more aware of the wonderful resource water is and how lucky we are to have what we get.

In fall, I’m always grateful for the leaves shed by trees. Along with rainfall, leaves are truly one of nature’s greatest gifts.

This time of year, we can be grateful for snow cover, which provides winter insulation for our perennials and other plants. Bare soil in winter can be hazardous to plants’ health.

I’m grateful for the customers at a local garden center where I work who look for the latest and greatest, need help picking out their plants or seek advice for a sick one. And to my readers in The Indianapolis Star, where I’ve held a spot since 1989. You keep me on my toes with your questions, knowledge and love of gardening.


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