“Garden with attitude,” Lolo Houbein urges in her lovely gardening book “One Magic Square.”
What does she mean? Be spunky. Keep trying. Keep learning. Don’t expect perfection (especially if you choose the organic route!)
Gardening isn’t like baking a cake. You can’t just follow a good recipe and expect perfect results every single time.
The gardener contends with soil-borne diseases, pests, floods in springtime, and drought in the summer with the hope of a bountiful harvest. It’s worth every bit of sweat, but gardening takes attitude.
I thought marigolds were fool-proof. Apparently not. This article about dead-heading saved the day for our marigolds.
Garden with attitude
Not every seed is going to germinate. Not every seedling will survive.
Don’t let failure get you down. If your seeds don’t sprout, try again. If slugs decimate your just-sprouted seedlings, try starting them inside. Once your seedlings are well-established, try again.
If your bean plants just won’t grow this year, at least you got to enjoy time in the sun and fresh air. Plant something else and try beans again next season.
Perseverance is as big a part of gardening as planting and weeding. Sure, some things you planted may not pay off, but other might be crazily successful.
There’s SO much to learn about gardening: about what plants do best together, about how to make your petunias (a great companion plant!) keep blooming, about which bugs you should encourage, not squash, on sight.
If you find something that works great, store it away for next year. If an idea fails, well, you’ll know what not to do next year.
Someday, after years of gardening, maybe you’ll be able to see a suspicious spot on a pepper leaf and know instantly what to do. For now, just keep consulting great gardening books, looking up pictures on the internet, and asking gardeners for advice.
Rose in her garden spot. The poor zinnia on the right and the seeds we planted in the back are barely surviving a bug attack. Hopefully they survive!
Don’t expect perfection
Slugs made holes in my zinnias, I can’t find a single spinach plant I planted, and some of my tomato leaves are curled. It’s okay. I refuse to coat them in chemicals so will just keep trying to see what works.
I’m not gardening because I want to submit pictures of my gorgeous beds to Better Homes & Garden. I garden because I want to grow fresh organic food for my family, because I want to be just a little less dependent on the grocery store, and because it’s fun to soak up the fresh air and sunshine in God’s beautiful world while marveling at the beauty of green life.
The many imperfections are a good reminder that we can’t control everything. Gardening may not be as easy as making a cake, but fresh home-grown fruits and vegetables are well-worth the extra effort.
Like most things in life that are worthwhile, gardening requires “attitude.”
[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]