Many of us have a different view of what gardening is or isn’t. I know from experience that there are many people out there who will tell you that you are wrong or that it will not work because that is not what the book says. When someone tells me “you cannot grow roses next to an Oak tree or you need to amend the soil”, my first reaction is to pull out my pictures of my yard and say “really?”
I am here to say again: gardening has no rules that are found in a book. Gardening is about passion and the commitment to work with Mother Nature to grow and nurture your garden. Sure, you will have bad experiences where a plant will not thrive but how to truly grow a plant is not found in a book-it is in your heart. Gardening is in a balance of nature and man that we are able to grow beautiful flowers, shrubs, and trees. The rules of zones and sunlight are not man made rules and therefore you have to work within guidelines of what nature says…
but you can fake it. It is not easy and will require you to give up part of a room or your garage to bring the plants in during the cold winter months. I overwinter an Avocado tree that started in my compost area. I also overwinter my huge Kimberly ferns in the garage but I have to sacrifice space. I have many houseplants and a few that are over 15 years old now which I place out under my store bought gazebo every spring. I then bring all the houseplants back in when the temps dip to about 45 at night. I have had to compromise with my family to limiting myself to what I can bring back in. I love my plants but I love a clean house in order more so I have had to learn to “let go”. Not that I would not love to set up a place to sow seeds, propagate, and revive plants but I know that I cannot deal with the look of a “nursery” in the house. If you can, then great.
I have been asked why I am not a master gardener. I have looked in to it many years ago and found that you have to volunteer many hours each year (and pay to keep this coveted title my many). It is not important to me to have this title and I know what I know because of what I do and the mistakes I have made. I have nothing against master gardeners but I have met many master gardeners in my lifetime that ASK ME for plant advice. I do not know everything and I still have to look up in my “antique” gardening books for advice if something does not thrive or a disease seems to plague one of my plants. I do not need a piece of paper to validate my gift and my passion for growing all things beautiful and green. My ‘green thumb’ is evident on my small plot in the world.
We are all a part of nature and it is in our best interest to work with her.
If you love hosta and you do not have shade, then you need to either find hosta that will tolerate lots of sun PLUS you need to keep them watered in order for them to thrive. You could also plant shrubs and small trees to grow shade too or if you a garden diva then you will create a master piece to become the shade.
I have 30+ varieties of hosta and many of them will not tolerate sun and then I have a few that do. I found that blue hostas such as Krossa Regal want shade and they will grow and multiply happily for years. I also have dainty hosta that reach about 3″ high that are a beautiful variegated green which also love the shade and in the sun they will not grow or spread. I have found that sometimes you need to experiment because many plants will adapt but sometimes, as with hosta, if you have them in the sun then they need more water and that means more maintenance. I am about working with nature to help my gardens thrive not spend more time.
In the heat of summer, there is supplemental watering during the drought. I have 3 rain barrels to keep my potted plants watered and I try not to use hose except to water the lawn during a drought. It is true, that plants know the difference between rain and city water. I can tell a difference in my yard during drought when it rains and grows overnight to using the sprinkler and the grass stays green but it just lies there…
Before you buy that plant, you really need to be honest with yourself and ask “how much time am I willing to spend watering, weeding, and taking care of my gardens?” this is a question I ask anyone I help with design and planting. I know there are 2 kinds of gardeners-true passionate lovers of all things blooming, green and beautiful and weekend gardeners who desire this passion but just cannot commit.
Gardening is a commitment.
It is a relationship with nature that will span your lifetime. I believe it is our responsibility to take care of our Earth and to work with Mother Nature to nurture all the beauty in this world. Man made these rules about spacing, amending the soil, and placement of plant heights. I do not do straight lines and use many plants to create texture, color, and a colorful palette of beauty. I also have a sense, which is going to sound weird, but I sometimes just know where to put a plant so it will thrive.
Knowing what will and will not grow in your area, your soil, and your zone is something that you may or may not find in a book. Gardening is our relationship and commitment to our Earth to nurture beauty and to grow our food. We all have to work towards not destroying the ecosystems within our own yards, towns, and countries. It is important to know what will thrive and even what will become invasive and destroy the landscape that Mother Nature already created.
What we do now is affecting our tomorrow and with that said…