If You Want Instant Gratification, Don’t Garden

Last Thursday, there was a great column in the Washington Post (which still actually employs garden writers–a very rare thing in and of itself!) about–among other things–how gardening can’t be rushed.

You can read that column, by Adrian Higgins, here.

The column had a number of neat statistics like how long it takes trees, shrubs and perennials to grow and fill in in the landscape. It also had a hyperlink to studies about how it takes larger plants longer to recover after planting than smaller plants.

To experienced gardeners, this is a bit of common sense. But then again, experienced gardeners lose sight of the fact that we weren’t all born with this knowledge. We’re the ones at the garden center buying the plants with few or no flowers in the spring while the other gardeners around us just look on and gasp in horror–if they bother to notice at all.

That’s because we know that the plants with no flowers haven’t put all their energy into making flowers in a tiny pot already (I am referring to annuals here, for the most part, which are already terribly pot bound when you buy them).

The other thing experienced gardeners aren’t doing–too much just yet–are buying a lot of plants and sticking them in the ground, at least in my part of the world. The very fickle weather doesn’t permit that.

There are times, of course, when you need a pop of color. You’re readying a house for sale. Or you’re having a party at the house. In that case, you buy plants, pop them in and say, “well, we’ll see what happens.”

But I know too well from my days of retail gardening about homeowners who came in and had one weekend to “get the garden done.”

If the garden is a chore to be checked off like cleaning out the garage, you are best off not doing it at all. Because by  late summer, it will need to be “re-done” because you will have done nothing else to it. And who wants that frustration?



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