Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Gardening Year's Resolutions

I hope that everyone had a happy Easter. Our family gathered at my mother's for Easter dinner, and while it was pretty chilly outside, the grandkids did manage to have one Easter egg hunt before the cold got the better of them. While there, I marvelled at my mother's plants she has managed to keep blooming over the winter. Even a wave petunia was still in full bloom, looking as if it were July instead of March. But her geraniums are the star performers. She keeps her flowers in a sunny, south-facing window on an enclosed porch. I don't know anyone who manages to keep geraniums thriving all winter long as well as she does.

Looking at her beautiful geraniums, I thought wistfully of the planter I brought in for the winter, hoping to save the geraniums and asparagus ferns for the next season. While the ferns have survived, the geraniums are turning brown and look very spindly. Hmmm, could it be that I forgot to water them??

Every year as the gardening season approaches, I have grand plans and all sorts of good intentions that seem to fizzle out as time goes by, especially in the heat and humidity of July and August. So I have decided that now, while I am waiting for the ground to dry out and the temperatures to warm up somewhat before attempting anything in the garden, this would be a good time to remind myself of what I've learned from past mistakes.

Here are my resolutions for this year in the garden:

1. I will not waste money on cabbage and cauliflower plants, unless I get a compassionate urge to feed the rabbits. (Actually, they were given to me last year so I didn't really spend any money on them. Over a week's time, leaf by leaf, they all disappeared.)

2. Before mowing season begins, I will edge the roadside flowerbed or at least point out to my husband the difference between an emerging lily and a clump of grass. (I think you get the picture.)

3. I will resist the urge to plant more than two hills of zucchini. (I still have bags of chopped and shredded zucchini from two summers ago in my freezer.)

4. I will spend more money on potting soil and not buy the bags that have been sitting next to the Walmart parking lot for the last month. (Last year I bought a few more bags in early June, and the soil felt like black bricks. No wonder the last few containers that were filled with this soil never did very well.)

5. I will not submerge the Jiffy peat pellets in a pan of water before planting, and have all the soil spill out into the water. (Yes, I did do that this year. Beckie gave me good instructions; I just visualized them differently. Fortunately, I retrieved them before they lost all their soil.)

6. I will not take the first warm day in early April to transplant half of my perennials. (Last year in early, early April we had two balmy days, so I decided to dig up some of my overcrowded plants and move them. The next day the temperature dropped 35 degrees and nearly killed those that had just been transplanted. One knock-out rose is still slowly recovering.)

7. I will put down mulch and weed the vegetable garden regularly before the green beans are hidden in a growth of grass and weeds. (I am too embarrassed to add any more...)

8. I will water the flowers, especially the potted ones, regularly and not tell myself each day, "Well, it looks like rain any time..."

9. I will write down notes in a gardening journal so that I remember what containers worked well and which ones didn't. Also, so that when a strange-looking plant begins to emerge in my flowerbed, I will remember what I planted there last year. (I did actually start this last year--just a simple three-ring binder with pockets for magazine or internet articles I've found. The notes, though, I didn't write down till December--I sure hope my memory was good at the time.)
And finally,

10. I will plant any annuals I purchase immediately, or within the next two days. The same goes for anything ordered from a mail order catalog. (I have discovered that after planting a dead plant in good,rich soil, it is still dead.)

I am sure that there are other things I need to do differently this year as well, but if I can stick to keeping these ten, my plants will thank me.


  1. Wonderful resolutions! You and I garden about the same except for the veggies. My worst fault is the watering in August. Maybe this year we will have more rain.

    Great post!

  2. Your Mum certainly has greenfingers, lovely pelargoniums. I will be checking your resolutions as I visit your blog. You have a lot to liveup to!!!!!

  3. Beckie, maybe we should put out rain barrels to save some of this spring rain for August. I read an article the other day that rain barrels are making a comeback.

    Cheryl, is perlargonium the British name for these flowers? Now that I've posted these resolutions, it's like telling everyone you are on a diet--I'd better stick with them!

  4. Wow, I always make a mental list..but you put it down in print...yiiikes!


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