Gardening: A Labor of Love

Today I have another great post from the ultimate gardener, my Grandma. 

Your cherry tomato plants withered and died, the rabbits nibbled your lettuce to the ground and black spot fungus ruined your roses. If this sounds like your last year’s gardening scenario, do not despair; determined gardeners can learn from disappointments as well as from successes.

Long time gardeners realize knowledge is power, and so the more you know- the better your garden grows. Spring is here, and with it a new gardening season, so now is the ideal time to become a more informed and educated gardener by taking advantage of a myriad of learning resources.

Most readily available to us all is the internet which seems almost limitless in its vast on-line accumulation of information, just click your way to becoming an authority. Current updated online classes cover every aspect of gardening; you can enroll now and be taught by the experts.

In addition, nearly all plant societies, botanical gardens and university horticulture departments have web sites. The American Horticulture website offers links to hundreds of national and regional gardening organizations.  Guidance on almost any gardening subject is only an e mail or an app away.

Books on gardening are invaluable, and you can turn to them time after time for information. Owning a well-stocked personal library of horticulture books is like having money in the bank—you can use it whenever you wish. Almost equally accessible are books from the local library. Most libraries have sections (the 600’s) on horticulture and gardening, and a library card opens the gate to your own Garden of Eden.

I often buy used gardening books. Foremost, the cost is minimal, and the writings are loaded with timeless personal experiences. Although the copyright dates may sometimes be a little old, well-written articles by knowledgeable respected authorities can never be outdated. Botanical names and terms (created by the Swedish scientist Carolinus Linnaeus in 1758) never change—professional writers know the lore and “speak the language”.

Personally, I love gardening magazines. I am a pushover at the magazine shelves in my local stores. Practical articles excite me with their colorful photos and up to the minute ideas of what other gardeners are doing; I encourage you to buy and try. Be sure to choose magazines printed for your area of the country as the information is more detailed and specific for wherever you are living. Similarly, peruse your local and regional newspapers for they often have garden editors who contribute columns offering timely tips and advice.

And finally, most supportive and probably most helpful are organizations such as Master Gardeners and Co-operative Extension groups. Members are hands-on, dirt- under- their- finger- nails people who gather to discuss their passions for plants and gardens. They welcome everyone who shares their enthusiasm.

Better yet, take a walk around your neighborhood. Most likely you will find an avid gardener who is anxious to talk about his experiences, show off his garden and perhaps give you a plant or two. You may discover the best garden expert is the person just across the fence.

Although I cannot guarantee your Sweet 100 tomatoes will be red and juicy, nor your Knock Out roses will bloom in glorious profusion, I can guarantee that with a little know-how, you can learn to appreciate the joys of gardening and its rewards.

Gardening is not drudgery, gardening is a challenge. Great gardens grow from enthusiastic, informed gardeners. Learn all you can—gardening is a labor of love.

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