“To become a gardener means to try, to fail, to stubbornly plug away at something, to endure serious disappointments and small triumphs that encourage you to try and fail again. But it means, above all, perking up your ears, sniffing, identifying the rhythm and the secret voice of a place, so that you may abandon yourself to and indulge it. To make a garden is to surrender so completely that you forget yourself. It is to obey.”
This quote from Pasti ends with the line. “It is to obey.” It sounds like a mean school teacher or an upset parent. Really what he is telling us is to watch, listen and follow the rhythms that mother nature sets out for us. He wants us to be observant!
It is watching the light in your garden. Did you notice today that the sun has moved further south in the sky. The light coming into your windows will be more at an angle.
It is noticing the temperatures over a long period of time. Are you recording the highs and lows in your garden journal? He is not saying look over this last week or month but can you follow year to year. When was it warm enough to plant last spring and when did the frost take over your garden last year?
It is watching the moisture in the ground. Yes, it is wet in the garden after two days of rain but do you know how much we received? Do you know if that is to much or not enough for our August plants? With this in mind you can either track the moisture on the internet or get personal and place a rain gage in your garden. My garden got one and 3/4 inches of rain in the last two days. We have had two and half inches so far for the month of August. I thought that was a lot and to much but when I looked at averages over years we usually get 4 inches or more. So really we are a bit dry for August. Who knew!!
It is watching, then recording (so you can remember the facts) and working with the land and plants in your garden. It is learning to listen, and be willing to plant and move plants to locations that work for them not for you.
Now that cool weather is peaking around the corner it is time to record what worked and did not work in your garden. It is time to go out and look and listen carefully to what happened in your garden this summer. What changes need to be made? What did you like or not like about this years growing season? Are you adding more garden space – be sure it works for your whole garden and the plants you wish to grow?
To become a gardener, to learn about your personal garden or the wild gardens around your community you need to watch, listen and record.
Hmmm… that is what good writers do. It is what all good learners do!