Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If I'd known then

what I know now, I'd never have planted those autumn blooming chrysanthemums under a then leafless pussy willow tree in Salt Lake City, Utah because I would have realized by the time they were blooming they'd be in near total shade and would be leggy things hanging waaaaay out over the sidewalk hunting for sun.

If I'd have known years ago how prolific and how productive loquats are at reseeding under their canopy I would have devised a better mulching under those trees as they began to fruit, rather than carelessly allowing a miniforest to sprout.  Four different times.

Fact of the matter is, after years of trying to grow things, we all make mistakes, we all make good choices, and we all have a little luck, good and bad, along the way.  If we are paying any attention at all, we learn as we go along, and at least make new mistakes, rather than repeating old ones.

Occasionally though, a long hard summer drought like last year will knock me backwards in my estimation of myself as a gardener.  Confidence shaken, I begin to personalize the failures, begin to think I have a brown thumb, that I simply can't get things to thrive and produce.

Blogs are sometimes helpful to help me hold perspective, but typically bloggers (and I include myself in this number) tend towards showing their successes, displaying those near perfect blooms in close or narrow shots that only give a glimpse of Nature at her finest.

It can be daunting.

Today however, I went out and noted that not only have the bulbs in the collection I received from Gardening Gone Wild started coming up ("stem side up....root side down" I kept repeating as I sorted and tried to get those various sized knobs at the appropriate depth), but they are showing signs of actually wanting to bloom.

The bluebonnet patch is finally exerting itself in a truly reseeded, densely packed way that is, for once, not the result of my caving, buying and placing actual plants there.

The tomato seeds I stuck into pots, watered and dragged in and out of sunshine and cooler nighttime temperatures have sprouted.  As they should, yes, but I have put seeds carefully and carelessly into play that have not shown any signs of germination.  Entire packets of them (that means YOU, Anthriscus cerefolium!).  

[Now you are wondering if I am aware others have full fledged tomato plants already, in sufficient numbers to generously share with other gardeners?  I am but shhhh- please don't interrupt me while I am gloating posting.  Like a three year old it will only encourage me to start over, breathlessly, at the beginning of my story....]

These signs of success (and yes!  I fully realize bulbs and seeds are supposed to sprout and bloom and this is not some sign of specialness on my or the bulb's or seed's part), have me feeling all warm and well,  cocky at this moment.  Signs of new and returning growth have encouraged me to believe that, in some reasonable sort of climate, with mostly moderate temperatures and acceptable amounts of rain, I too, am totally awesome moderately capable when it comes to gardening.

Let it be said here and now however.  If I eventually end up with actual tomatoes this year, there will be no living with me.

You've been warned.


  1. What are you trying to do?
    Depress me even further?
    You know I can't do any of those things. But at least I offer up the disasters with great generosity :-)
    No choice, as unlike you,I have no success stories. None.
    Let me see now, where are the hang-gliding blogs....

  2. Aw, Jo. You can do so very many things. Those pesky snails are not any more your doing than the seeds and bulbs sprouting here are mine.

    My point was (which I made too lightly if at all), this gardening bit has so very little to do with us and what we do over what would happen with or without our plans and intentions.

    I hope you'll check back on me in the blast furnace that will be July in Central Texas and we'll see how cocky I feel then, OK? : )

  3. It takes hope to be a gardener. To put hard little seeds into earth and wait for life to spring. You're right, we all have failures. And if we keep trying, success.

    The first day of Master Gardener class, they told us we wouldn't be real MG's until we'd killed a hundred plants. I'm well on the way.

    Life is too short to worry over everything.

  4. Hmmm- I should how many seeds were in that packet that saw a total fail in terms of germination. Perhaps that would shove me well along the way to MG status sans classwork? Nah - can't be THAT easy...

    Life IS too short. And today, there are even more baby tomato plants to live for, so, onward!

  5. I'm excited about your tomato seedlings! (I wimped out this year and bought tomato plants, which I potted and bring inside on nights below 50.) And I can't wait to see more bluebonnet pictures!

  6. Great post! I've been kicking myself too for all the horrible mistakes. A dead plant is one thing; an invasive is quite another! But you're right, we learn, we grow (!) and as gardeners, we really do need to appreciate our successes more, and count the failures/mistakes up to experience. Hey, we didn't learn how to do all the other things we do in a day or a year. But for some reason, our gardens make us hard on ourselves.


About Me

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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.