Archive for January 22, 2013

A Gardener’s Resolutions

Tulips and other spring flowers at the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum and Gardens, circa 1930. Collection of the Archives of American Gardens.

Tulips and other spring flowers at the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum and Gardens, circa 1930. Collection of the Archives of American Gardens.

When the ball dropped in Times Square this January did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Shedding excess weight, increasing physical activity, and expanding intellectual awareness are popular choices.  Noble resolutions, but my favorite resolutions usually center around garden improvements. Coincidentally, while I am improving the garden I am also increasing my physical activity, shedding winter-gained pounds and increasing cerebral activity – and loving every minute.

Resolution #1: This year my garden will be perfect so I will stop apologizing when friends visit. My perfect garden is designed while daydreaming. Daydream designing is a simple pastime with outstanding results. All changes and improvements are given consideration. I can move shrubs, rearrange paths, and add ponds, sheds, and arbors repeatedly without sweating or reaching for Ben-gay. I can rethink combinations and add new plants and I don’t have to worry if the plant is accessible or expensive. Outlandish ideas that seem impossible usually develop into stunning features. The design process would be aided with photographs and complete records, but that is…

Resolution #2: I will photograph my garden during all seasons so I can remember highlights, mistakes and colors. On one side of the steps leading to my front door I planted exquisite, apricot-colored species tulips. I would like to add more, but I don’t know the cultivar and I can’t remember exactly where they are located.  To rectify this, all I would have to do is take a picture while they are blooming. I planted them 8 years ago; so far I haven’t made any new additions.

Resolution #3: I will visit _______ garden. They have the best examples of ______ and it would be fun to see how they _____ . Fill in the blanks. I have a list of gardens a mile long that I want to visit, meet the staff, and borrow ideas. I know it is important to keep your garden maintained, spend time with the family and occasionally go grocery shopping, but I also must satisfy my curiosity and see what other gardeners are creating. Besides, I may discover the name of my cute little apricot tulip.

Resolution #4: I will continue my quest for gardening trivia. Conversing at cocktail parties used to be so difficult. But since I started collecting interesting gardening facts I can talk all night. You would be surprised how many people are curious about the sex lives of aphids or how an amorphophallus is pollinated. You can acquire an amazing amount of trivia by attending lectures, subscribing to numerous journals, and reading horticultural books. Of course you’ll also improve your gardening skills, but that is a bonus.

Four resolutions, not too overwhelming; Happy New Year!

-Cynthia Brown, Horticulture Collections Management & Education Manager

January 22, 2013 at 9:00 am 1 comment


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