The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Twelve Lessons from the Garden
Time Makes Ancient Truths Uncouth.
Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery


I was thinking about a direct walk to Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery, but Sassy wanted to take the long route, down Joye, past the fire station, and through Almost Eden. Her plan gave her a rich and varied path to follow, which led ultimately to Opie and his staffmember, Almost Eden himself.

Today we talked about hawks, rabbits, and the cat Sassy decided to track. Her sense of smell is so compelling that she will follow a rabbit's track across a street, her nose almost on the pavement, and miss the rabbit four feet from her, laughing at my dog's skills.

One the way home, about 1/2 block, I thought about the supposed truths of agriculture made uncouth in recent years. Although I never joined the fads of chemical gardening, I have learned a lot, not only in the past, but also in the last three years.

If one rose bush pays for itself,
a few more mean a wealth to give away.
Become a rose millionaire, a benefactor.


Twelve Lessons Learned

  1. The US government has some of the worst ideas in agriculture. They promoted two of the worst plant pests ever introduced to America - the Kudzu Vine and the Chinese Multiflora Rose. Now the feds will fine farmers for planting what they once promoted as good.
  2. Chemical fertilizers, which I hardly ever bought, because of the cost, have no long-term value for the gardener and only harms the creatures that really built fertility over time.
  3. Though I learned at home that most insects were beneficial, lately I learned how to encourage their work and enjoy the benefits. See #4.
  4. Plant it and they will come - every plant has its own helpers, and quite a few creatures help themselves to the plant. Squirrels and slugs come to mind right away. But there are many counter-measures that show up to pare down the pest numbers.
  5. Roses delight everyone. There is no better investment than a few rose bushes - or a few dozen - for sharing. Hybrid tea roses are the best for vases, but floribunda roses can be impressive too.
  6. KnockOut roses grow like weeds but they are not "self-pruning" as the greedy, unscrupulous marketing people claim. Are they also self-watering? Given good care and constant pruning of spent blooms, red and pink KnockOuts are a great supplement for bouquets. Chopping my KO shrubs down by 30-50%, I have a new set of growth and beautiful blooms in the heat of summer. And I water.
  7.  Every plant has its day. All plants have a time-table for when they flourish, flower, and set seed. Weather variables will doom some and make others flourish. 
  8. Every pest has its day, too. The little brown, round beetles are gone. Now we have the tiny flying insects in our house. Outside, the pests are food for something, so let them feed the ones that enjoy digesting them. Spiders, beetles, wasps, and beneficial flies (Hover, Tachinid) are under-rated and ignored. Lady Beetles are good but not the superstars. Jessica Walliser is the beneficial insect guru.
  9. The power of seeds and bulbs to hold life and power through the soil should be enough to convince people of Creation. But the multiple chemical micro-factories in each cell, and their specialization as they mature - that is beyond comprehension.
  10. Fungi, baceria, protozoa and other microbes are the foundation of all soil life and fertility, as Jeff Lowenfels has shown. Queen Elizabeth's gardeners agree. 
  11. Studying and observation is one of the delights of gardening, as Sharon Lovejoy has shown in A Blessing of Toads.
  12. Sow abundantly, reap abundantly. The Creator had good reason for using living seed as the metaphor for the active, energetic Word of God. The more one plants and fails, yet plants again for spectacular and rewarding growth, the more one trusts Matthew 13's Parable of the Sower and the Seed.

Double Delight - no photo
compares to the rose itself.