It’s Sunday and I was awakened by something strange and unfamiliar this spring – blazing sunshine! All I can think about is getting into the yard and tackling projects the awful spring weather has made impossible to complete. No more excuses. Laziness is not an option!
I love gardening. I hate the grunt work. Thatching, weeding, trimming. We do the work ourselves. Why? Because in a couple of months our yard will be alive. We like knowing it is beautiful because of our hard work. Plus, I am cheap. I hate paying someone to do work I am capable of doing.
I started thinking that gardening lessons learned in Snoqualmie’s microclimate might be applicable to more than just my yard.
~ Gardening is trial and error. We participated in Snoqualmie Ridge’s Garden Tour years ago. We got one constant question. How did you pick your plants? My husband told people by learning from mistakes. We picked many plants that died. It taught us to read the plant tags more carefully – learn how temperature and wind tolerate the specific plant was. Lesson? Mistakes happen. Learn from them. Plus, reading directions first really works.
~ Plants can be moved to a new garden location and thrive. Move them. Don’t get rid of them. My first Snoqualmie yard started from new construction nothing. A blank slate. Trees grew. Plants under them were not getting enough sun. Simply moving them to the front yard gave them the sun they needed to thrive. Lesson? Sometimes a new environment gives you the tools to keep growing. It’s not always a huge change. Sometimes just a different part of the yard is all it takes.
~ Get yard advice from someone more experienced. We are in our second Snoqualmie home now – with another blank slate (meaning dirt) for a backyard. Knowing we didn’t want to continue learning from our gardening mistakes, we hired a landscape designer. Together we created a design and then we pieced the yard together. Lesson? It’s good to get advice from someone smarter, more experienced on a certain topic. It encourages fewer mistakes – which can save lots of money!
~ Sometimes no matter what the plant tag says, that plant just won’t live in Snoqualmie’s crazy climate. Even nursery owners are wrong. I have tried a beautiful shrub for 2 years now. It died the first winter. I tried again. Telling myself if it died again then the “experts” were wrong. It won’t work here. I will make a different plant choice this spring. Lesson? Sometimes even the “experts” are wrong. Maybe the “expert” is the person who lives here and has tried it.
~ Fertilize naturally. I switched to natural fertilizers exclusively last year. Gone are the Scott’s and Miracle Grow. They were replaced with natural grass fertilizers to promote strong roots. Who’d of thought? Encouraging strong, natural root and grass growth actually fights off weeds? Salmon fertilizer makes flower pots beautiful. Sprays made of putrified egg keep the deer from eating lilies. Lesson? Artificial is more instant, but natural is best for a longer lasting growth – even if it’s stinky for a bit. Don’t we want results that last longer than one growing season?
~All the tedious, hard yard work is worth it. My back aches after weeding and thatching. I dread doing it. But by July I have heaven in my backyard. The perennials all bloom. The grass is healthy and green. The trees come back to life, full of leaves. Lesson? Simple. Hard work can breed beauty. Keep your eyes on the end result. Give the tedious grunt work purpose.
Enjoy this beautiful spring day. Yard work, here I come!