Thursday, January 30, 2020

Resolutions for Gardeners

By late January many New Year’s resolutions and good intentions have been filed away in our minds as a distant memory.  That could be a good thing if those resolutions and intentions were too aggressive; small lifestyle changes that are embraced are more valuable than dramatic changes which aren’t realistic.  
Recently, I read approximately 50% of Americans don’t bother to make New Year’s resolutions at all.   Since it is a long-standing tradition to embrace a new year (and new decade) with an element of change, consider creating a short list of resolutions relevant to GARDENING. 

Suggestions follow:
Grow ONE plant from seed that you normally would purchase as a seedling; veggie or flower, you choose.  (some examples of plants that germinate easily and perform well from seed: marigolds, cilantro, morning glories, swiss chard)

Learn the Latin name (genus and species) for two of your favorite plants… tree, shrub, perennial.   I learned a tip in horticulture class that Googling on a plant name using the genus and species will yield more detail than using the common name. (Often typing in the common name will direct you to a website to PURCHASE the plant, when you are actually trying to learn more.)  Simply type in the Google search:  genus red maple (You will learn it is Acer rubrum, which will allow you to further search internet using those words in your search engine.)

Plant something new and different in your garden space; it might be a new cultivar—just released—OR a flower you have never tried before.  It might be a culinary herb you have not grown in years past.  You might choose a new annual, bulb or perennial.  

Be BOLD, have FUN!

Choose a PPP (Pollinator Pleasing Plant) a specimen that attracts desirable insects to your garden space.  This can be as simple as planting Italian flat leaf parsley which often attracts yellow swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs; I’ve witnessed this twice—the female selects the TALLEST leaves and uses her ovipositor to insert eggs into each leaf.  Since the parsley patch is also used for culinary purposes, I harvest only the LOWEST leaves from each stem.   Each swallowtail caterpillar I find on these plants is a gift; I plant enough parsley so they can eat all they wish, and there is still enough for my cooking needs.

Our 2020 gardening season commences soon (depending on where you live)… embrace change, try something BOLD and BEAUTIFUL!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture