Apr 30, 2017

The Most Empowering Gardening Advice You Will Ever Receive

From novice container gardeners to master gardeners, everyone who has ever donned a pair of gloves and held a small shovel with hope in their heart can benefit from this wisdom.

It came from Paul Gautschi, the inventor of the Back to Eden Garden method and an arborist by trade.  It went something like this, "You are the gardener, you decide where things go.  You are in charge.  If you did not plant something, remove it.  If something becomes overgrown or becomes an obstacle take it out.  Unproductive and barren things will respond to pruning but dead things must be buried."

I spent about 80 hours in the garden this season, cleaning, moving, and being relentless in the application of this advice.  I have to admit up until now I have been an Adam Smith "Invisible Hand" sort of gardener.  If a plant self-sowed or the birds brought me a specimen, more often than not I was a "live and let live" kind of gal.  The result was chaotic and a mismatched jumble of discordant plants, heights, and random black-eyed Susans scattered across a neglected perennial garden.

Today, I look out across the beds and there is order from chaos and a satisfaction from a job well done.  All the black-eyed Susans are regathered in a reasonable space, the tall verbena has been replanted along the back wall instead of in the border rocks and walkway.  SIXTY feet of honeysuckle has been pulled out by hand and is relentlessly eradicated from a two hundred square foot section it had taken over.  The random Autumn Joy Sedum is in the shade instead of withering pathetically in the sun.  Those horrible bulbs that never bloomed, took up a ton of space, and always looked like they were thirsty?  They are in the trash.  The diseased raspberry canes?  I was merciless in their eradication.  The volunteer asparagus plant that sprung up at the entrance to the vegetable garden?  Dug up and moved to the asparagus patch.  Paul's advice is sound, in life as well as in the garden.   You are in charge.