I’m visiting friends in Colorado Springs, CO, and no trip is really complete for me without either doing some gardening or visiting some garden centers or botanical gardens. So Jan and I made a visit to one of her local independent nurseries for plants for her 5 containers. We had success, and also picked up a free publication, Colorado Gardener, available widely in Colorado. And in the first spread was an article reminding me that wisdom appropriate for our neck of the woods is not so very different from what is appropriate elsewhere.
You can read the entire pub with their online widget, but go to page 3 for the article called Let Go of the Past by Jaki Hein.
What attracted my attention was the author’s experience at the garden center where she works with a Seattle transplant asking to be shown hydrangeas, flowering dogwoods and camellias, and also asking why the rosemary she planted didn’t seem to survive the winter. Well, those things don’t grow well or at all in the harsh USDA zone and equally harsh alkaline soil of Colorado’s front range area.
People seem to also want Kentucky bluegrass and Japanese maples. Ummmm… NO! Those things need entirely different soil and MUCH more water than are available in this area.
The article went on to offer some sensible suggestions and give sage local advice about reading labels and such. I was very impressed. The article covered many things I speak about in my lectures to both my clients and also to the public. Made me think I’m not such a hair-brain, weirdo since others in other parts of the country are tooting the same horn. YAY! :-)
I can’t stress how important it is to respect what Mother Nature prescribes for each various area of her earth. We need to be realistic about what is able to grow here and there. Release the ‘me’ from our gardening experience. Or at least learn to broaden our taste in plants to include the things that will actually survive where we are living, at that time, in that place.
Remember, working WITH Mother Nature will always be easier and less expensive than working against her. She is WAY more in charge of your garden than you are. Try to adopt the mentality than you are gardening for Her, and not for yourself. I like to frame my gardening life as a service project for Mother Nature.
Try it. You may like it. :-)