Monday, December 27, 2010

Gardening Resolutions

In the spirit of public service, I'm going to transmit, with some modification, some advice regarding New Year's resolutions that I heard on the radio last night while traveling back from a Christmas visit.

The radio topic was about how to improve your success rate on your New Year's resolutions (if you are foolish enough to make any). I'm sorry that I can't quote the station or the announcer for this info but I'll freely admit that it is purloined from such a source.  Anyway, the radio personality presented a four-part plan for making your resolutions stick which can be summed up in four "P's" (my modification):  Passion, Present tense, Put it in writing, and (have a) Plan.

I'll illustrate the above concepts in terms of a gardening resolution for me for 2011.  The first P, "Passion," stands for making a resolution on something you are passionate about.  It wouldn't, for instance, do any good for me to make a resolution that I'm going to add some marigolds to my garden because I have little interest in placing marigolds in my garden, nor any other annuals for that matter.  One thing I am passionate about right now is that I need to improve the garden bed pictured above by moving the large ornamental grasses (circled in the picture) somewhere else, maybe at least to the back of the bed, so the plants behind them can be seen better.  So my 2011 resolution is to move the darned Miscanthus cultivars in this bed somewhere else.  And if you think that action is not worthy of needing a resolution, you've obviously never moved a full-grown Miscanthus sp. anchored in rocky, clayey soil.

The second P, "Present tense" means that you should always refer to your resolution in the present tense.  For example, you're not GOING to quit smoking, you HAVE quit smoking.  I'm not going to move the Miscanthus sometime this spring, I'm already "in the process of moving the Miscanthus" (dread and procrastination ARE surely part of the process, and so I really have started moving them).

The third P, "Put it in writing" is obviously accomplished for me by writing this blog.  The act of writing down your resolution reinforces the chances that you'll carry it out.  It is a simple contract with yourself that you'll see later and be reminded that you were doing something about it.  In the case of this blog, I also risk the embarrassment of not moving the grasses and then facing local friends who read the blog and who may see the clumps next summer, still unmoved, sprawling all over the neighboring roses.

Finally, the radio emphasized that you should "have a Plan" for how to accomplish your goal.  My plan for moving the Miscanthus is to waddle forth sometime when the frost leaves the ground in late March, and, armed with mattock, spade, chainsaw, and a colorful vocabulary, I will begin to pry the Miscanthus from their current sites.  After about 30 unfruitful minutes of that effort, during which I shall likely accomplish nothing aside from bruising my insoles by jumping repeatedly on the spade, I will then go into town to hire three young strapping men to accomplish the feat while I observe and direct them from the comfort of the gazebo swing. That method seems to work best for the landscaping gurus I see on the TV shows, and so I have high expectations that I will, in fact, accomplish my New Year's gardening resolution.

How about you?  What gardening resolutions will you make?


  1. Mulch: This year's garden resolution is to keep my beds mulched. In past years I've neglected this and paid the price with lots of weeds. Late last summer I had six yards of mulch delivered and was able to put it on the beds as soon as they were ready and what a difference in looks and in weed control. I now plan to get mulch delivered in April so I can replenish thin spots right away. Another resolution is to try and go on at least one garden tour. I get tunnel vision about my own gardening but I really love talking to other gardeners and seeing their ideas.Brrrrr-ish in upstate NY. Jane

  2. Love the 'apply 3 strapping lads' or thereabouts. My garden resolution is to make some garden resolutions real soon. But one is to keep my blog updated much more frequently. A cyber garden is better than none at all.

    I actually accomplished a long list of decades-old resolutions in 2010 so I feel I can coast for another week or two or three.

  3. Where can I find 3 strapping lads to help me with my garden tasks? LOL! I could accomplish much more that way!


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