March 19, 2013

Gardeners are naturally inquisitive creatures

A heartfelt personal thanks goes out to all the garden bloggers who participated in this season's "Lessons Learned" meme. Not only for your participation, but also for sharing with the rest of us your beautiful gardens and key things you've learned during the past three months.

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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!

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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.

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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...?

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38 comments:

  1. What wonderful lessons! Thanks for including me in this post. Since this is the first day of spring, we have a new and wonderful season full of lessons in front of us! Happy first day of spring!!!

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    1. Thanks for participating! It's always fun to look ahead to a new season. I have so many big plans for this year's garden. Happy Spring!

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  2. I learned that pine straw made great mulch -- and then learned I was wrong! :)

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    1. Hmmmm...I'd like to hear more about that experience. What happened?

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  3. Thank you Beth for putting together all our thoughts and including me in your post. And that's life: a lot of things to learn, but I feel that in community is easier!

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    1. Thanks for participating! I agree. Chances are, we'd learn all the lessons on our own, but it's so much easier, more fun, and more rewarding to share the lessons in a community.

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  4. I can already say I am learning to watch and wait as more snow fell, 8 inches, and more possibly another foot or more could fall in the next few days to week. We are already at 18 feet since I wrote my lesson post. I am remembering that cold and snow are usual for our start to spring but not this much.

    Great posts and lessons!

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I'm a little slow this week responding. ;) Gosh, that is incredible how much snow you have had. Time for winter to stop! Yes, I agree. We often have snow during March Madness, but not usually this much and not such cold temperatures. Stay warm and safe!

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  5. It is so refreshing to read about all the impressions and lessons that the seasons bring. I am so glad you do this meme because it keeps me reflecting--one of my favorite things to do.

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    1. Thanks, again, for being a part of it, Michelle. Your wise and perceptive posts always make me think in new ways. I appreciate your collaboration and sharing!

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  6. I've been waiting for your collective post - almost a hundred posts waiting in my Google Reader - and yours is the first I read - because it pops up as an Icerocket link. Thank you muchly!

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    1. Thank you, Diana! Happy Autumn! I'm looking forward to following your posts as you transition to your new place. It's very exciting!

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  7. What a delight to read all the lessons learned in the gardening world. Very interesting. Glad I didn't miss it.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! Isn't it rich to be able to compare notes with gardeners around the world? Happy ... Spring? You'd never know it in the Midwest, right? ;-)

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  8. It has been a really interesting set of posts to read, very thought provoking at times. Perfect for the season.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. I thought so, too. This is an especially impressive grouping of posts!

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  9. I love reading other's lessons. I always feel as though I have so much to learn. I also appreciate you putting all the lessons together in a post. I can easily spot the ones I missed, and I don't want to miss any!

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    1. Thanks, Holley, and thanks for participating! It's inspirational for me, too. This meme continues to teach me so much, so it's a pleasure. Cheers!

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  10. What an absolutely beautiful post. You did splendid work, Beth, in putting together not just lessons for gardening but life itself. Happy spring to all who participated. Such a joyful read.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! This was a great group of lessons. I truly realized it as I was reading the collection. It's a fun and inspiring meme to coordinate!

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  11. I have yet to meet a gardener that isn't still learning. I think reflecting back is so valuable and allows us to go forward in a productive way. Sharing these lessons is wonderful and I really enjoy learning from others. It is one of the best things about blogging!

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    1. So, true Karin! I haven't tired of the meme yet, and I keep thinking, "Will we run out of lessons?" Then I chuckle, and realize, no, the lessons will keep coming. Gardening will continue evolve. And we'll continue to share stories. ;-)

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  12. Learning is fun - even if we do sometimes end up with burnt fingers!

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    1. Yes, that is true. Always more to learn!

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  13. If I ever stop learning something new in the garden, it will mean I've quit gardening! Thanks for hosting this great meme; I hope to participate again in the next one. Last year's warm spring taught me that tulips and other bulbs don't like too much warmth; hopefully, this year all the spring bloomers will stick around for awhile.

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    1. Thanks, Rose. Last year everything bloomed way too early and fast around here, and then the drought, etc. So, it's good to have plenty of snow cover to fully erase the drought. I think, I think ... that spring might actually happen in April!

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  14. Hi Beth, I enjoyed participating and thank you for highlighting my post. Looking forward to visiting some of the other shares. Happy Spring! :)

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    1. Thanks for joining in, Loredana! I look forward to my next visit to your blog. I've been traveling for a week, so sorry that I've been a bit tardy. Happy Spring to you, too!

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  15. I really love that you continue this meme. Snow as a source of nitrogen? That's new to me! I agree with Rose that it's just not possible to garden without leaning something new. A few of my wintersown seeds have sprouted! Woo-hoo!

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. It's an easy meme to maintain because it's quarterly. And I continue to be inspired by the thoughtfulness and quality of the posts. Glad to hear about your success with the winter sowing!

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  16. Your cyclamen photos are lovely! There are so many lessons to be learned in the garden, and I hope to be learning the rest of my life. Happy spring!

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    1. Thank you, Deb. Each season brings new learning and new joy. Happy Spring to you, too!

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  17. Thank you for the link. It was a surprise. Always a new happening in the garden and with the weather as it is, there will much more to discover as the seasons turn.

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    1. Of course, Donna. Thanks for your insights! Much more to discover, indeed! I can't wait!

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  18. Always enjoy reading your posts Beth. May the spring be with you. Soon.

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    1. Thanks! And I enjoy yours, too. Spring is definitely showing subtle signs. There is hope. :)

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  19. Hi Beth, I enjoyed reading all of these insights, mostly because they were a bit of a gardening fix, since I haven't been able to get down there much.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope your snow melts soon!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the round-up, Sue. I did, too. Same here regarding the inability to get out and dig in the dirt. And now I'm getting very impatient! ;-)

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