Sharing each season's lessons gives us all a more global view of what's happening--in gardens like our own, and in gardens that are distinctly different. For me, personally, both types of learning are incredibly exciting and fulfilling.
My perception is that gardeners are naturally inquisitive creatures, and when we stop learning, we lose a little of that excitement of discovery. So, once again, kudos to those who are still learning!
Here are a few highlights:
1. Diana at Elephant's Eye, in Western Cape province, South Africa, takes her lessons from the signs of nature. When she sees the first March Lily bud "nosing through," she knows it's time to prune. In Diana's words: "I nibble away carefully, somewhere between topiary and green sculpture, lost in thought. I chop the pieces and return them as mulch for the plant they came from." She offers tips for proper pruning, mulch preparation, and motivating oneself for garden chores.
2. Linnae at Linnae's Garden, in Washington state, U.S., offers sage advice that should work for any garden: "In gardening, you figure out what works. Then you repeat that. Success. Repeat. Success. Repeat." Observe what is working and what is not, she explains. On her back slope, some plants died, others struggled, and still others thrived. Her game plan this season: Plant more of what already works, including Lupines, Daisies, and Blackberry vines, among others.
3. Catmint at Diary of a Suburban Gardener, in Victoria province, Australia, shares highlights of a trip to Israel, including incredible photos of a forest floor filled with wild Cyclamens, Anemones, Erodiums, and many other wildflowers. She notes that three Olive trees in the Garden of Gesthemene are scientifically dated as more than 2,000 years old. Catmint's photos and description also take the reader to the Carmel mountain range, Mount Bental, and Netanya.
4. Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys, in Texas, U.S., offers a tender lesson: Plants have personal meanings and memories attached to them. We should figure out what those meanings and memories are, and how and where to grow particular plants to preserve the memories. Holley couldn't figure out why she didn't want yellow Daffodils in her garden. A particular memory from her great-grandmother's garden suddenly revealed the reason why.
5. Donna at Gardens Eye View, in New York state, U.S., reveals that she prefers a normal winter for her locale, unlike last year's reduced snowfall and very early spring. Donna's garden gets a lot of snow--in a normal winter, at least 10 feet. This year, she had 15 feet. So, she's extolling the benefits of snow: insulation for soil and plants to prevent soil heaving and premature growth, and as a source of nitrogen. Donna also says snow is often called a "poor man's fertilizer."
6. Loredana at Blogging Away, also of New York state, takes us on a walk near her home. She explains the delight of discovering Snapdragons in winter, the whimsy of following weather vanes, and the many surprises around every corner. A nearby farm has greenhouses that stay open all winter--growing an impressive array of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Loredana says she has rediscovered the pure joy of a nature walk, which is relaxing, invigorating, and great exercise.
7. Michelle at The Sage Butterfly, near Washington, D.C., shares her recent realization that winter offers beauty not found in any other season. "I am now able to accept the season of winter with all its subtle interest and soft whispers," she says. "I have learned to be grateful for the slowing of pace and for having the opportunity to see what I cannot see in other seasons. Mostly, I think I am grateful to live in an area where I can experience the depth of the four seasons so perfectly."
8. Karin at Southern Meadows, in Georgia, U.S., discusses the benefits of native plant alternatives to invasive species. She shares incredible photos from her participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count: yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker, tufted titmouse, cardinal, and goldfinch. Karin says she has learned the value of platform feeders for ground-feeding birds. Also, she continues her observations of a pair of overwintering rufus hummingbirds.
Other comments about lessons learned include Lynne at Irish Garden House, who learned that a snowy winter can be cheerful, and that love and caring pop up in unusual ways if we're ready to receive; Christy at Christy's Cottage Wildlife Garden, who discovered that ice, although dangerous, can transform ordinary things into works of beauty; Helene at Graphicality-UK, who rediscovered the benefits of moving from Norway to London; Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams, who learned that winter isn't as bad as she thought it would be; and Burleson Babe, who re-remembered that patience is the gardener's supreme virtue and getting outside in winter is worth it.
Tammy at Casa Mariposa learned how to get a jump on spring by winter sowing seeds; Lula at On Botanical Photography rediscovered the beauty of snow in pictures from the north; Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk remembered that there's always something to see in winter--we just have to get out in the snow to find it; Heather at Life Is Like a Garden and These Are My Colours has learned to love and appreciated the beauty and wonders winter has to offer; and Marcia at A 3 Acre Farm learned to bring along her camera, which paid off when she captured a photo of a white rabbit in the snow.
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I feel like I've just taken a trip around the world! If I missed any lessons, please add them in the comments. And now we move on to the next season. What will we learn during the next three months...?