Year-End Reflections

Most gardeners, no matter where they live or how they garden, must be eternal optimists.  How else to account for the fact that they continue to garden despite the challenges year after year?  For let’s face it, no matter what kind of gardening you do, be it a few containers or full-scale, all out grow everything known to man on several acres kind of gardening, usually whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  Yes, there will be successes every year.  But there will also be dismal failures.

And yet, for the most part, we die-hard gardeners come back year after year, vowing that next year will be different.  The garden will be better, the plants will grow stronger.  Our vegetables will be far more productive and our flowers will never be troubled by insects or disease.

For a personal account, this year, I planted an heirloom bean crop three times.  The first two times it just failed to germinate for some reason–perhaps it was too wet or too cold.  Then the third time they finally took off, climbed to the top of my bean teepees–where the deer finally found them and ate everything.  Ah well, next year, I’ll go back to the beans I’ve had success with in the past.  The deer found the leaves tasty but they at least left the beans for me!

One of our  renaissance men–because writer or even pundit doesn’t really do him justice–Colin McEnroe–wrote a Year End Reflections column for a regional publication.  While his was fairly political, it was still uproariously funny.  It reminded me that whereas I had been going around telling folks that we had an unusual year, weather-wise, we also have had other unusual incidents, especially once involving a cougar or mountain lion.

Less than one month after our state wildlife department officially declared the mountain lion extinct in Connecticut, one was spotted in Greenwich, a ritzy suburb of New York.  Mountain lions are occasionally spotted all over Connecticut so of course wildlife officials pooh-poohed this sighting as well–until the big cat was killed on one of our major interstates!  Hard to deny evidence like a dead body!

In the weather department, it was also a tough year for gardeners.  We had 2 tropical storms come roaring though within 10 days of one another right at the end of the growing season, devastating certain parts of the state and just making a mess of the rest of it.  We had a freak October snowstorm that left almost a million of us without power for over a week.  We had an earthquake.  We had a tornado.  We had a record amount of snowfall in January.  And last but not least, we had a freak sinkhole that took 24 hours to close.  We began to wonder which of the weather gods we’d offended and how to get back in the good graces….

So as 2012 begins, I sincerely hope the garden will be better, stronger and healthier than last year.  One thing I do know–there will be a lot more sun because of all the trees we lost in October.  So there will be more vegetables.

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