Tag Archives: Garden resolutions

The results of my gardening resolutions since 2010

I dove way back into the blog archives for today’s post. Inches of dust were swept away and endless doses of humiliation were consumed just to prove a point to all of my readers.

I suck.

You should go elsewhere.

I’m a phony.

This is no exaggeration. I’m not playing the sympathy card.

I traveled back in blog time and collected all of my prior end of the year garden resolutions and tabulated my success, ahem, failure rate.

I will keep you in suspense in terms of a % until the end of this post.

Each and every resolution has been copied in its exact wording from the original post. I will add my current day commentary after each one and whether each one was a “success” or “failure”.

You can click on the year to view the original posts if indulging in other’s humiliation is your thing.

Allow the carnage to begin.


2011
I vow to include my children more in the gardening process – Not even close. I haven’t even attempted to engage them for years now. Fail.

I will stay on top of the pruning, especially those perennials that require it for size control. There were some attempts back a few years but nothing since. Fail.

I will grow even more of my own food and do it in a sensible way. I have no idea what “sensible” meant but bottom line, I’ve grown a few tomatoes and that is it. I’m lazy. Fail

I will dig like a champ, put my body through complete torture and revel in the pain. I took on some bigger projects that following year but very little since. I hate myself. Fail.

I will continue to incorporate more and more native plants. This has been a focus every year to date. Success.

I will admit defeat to the deer. Yeah right. I assume this meant to only plant truly deer resistant plants. I’m still dumb. Fail.

I will do my best to stop and “smell the roses” more often. Huh? Fail.


2012
Expand, expand, expand -I want to add more paths and “destinations” that will encourage you to want to explore more. Very little has changed since then. I’m really disappointed in myself retroactively. Fail. 

Foliage, foliage, foliage – The key is to focus on foliage with contrasting colors, shape and textures. Hmmmm. I’m still a foliage gardener but I know what I truly intended here. More exciting and dramatic foliage. There have been some attempts but not to the level I intended. Fail.

Take advantage of raised beds – This is a simple one. Raised beds eliminate the poor drainage issue and allow me to grow herbs and vegetables I normally could not. I still have only the original one and have added exactly zero since. Fail.

Give up on the plants I know will not thrive – It is all about survival of the fittest and if you can’t keep up, you’re gone. Good bye Phlox paniculata, Good bye daylillies, Good bye Geranium ‘Brookside’. I still have all three. Fail.

Visit more gardens and get my ass inspired. The aforementioned ass has not been inspired at all. Fail.


2013

Soil test – as soon as the soil is workable in spring, I will get my samples out for testing and I cannot wait to see the results. Enough of the speculation and guesswork, time to get scientific. Didn’t happen. Fail.

Compost – it will take some time to get the production going, but thanks to that wonderfully inspiring GGW episode from last night, I now know where I can purchase compost in bulk. Didn’t happen. Fail.

Education – this is more of a keep reading, visit local gardens, talk to other gardeners, look into becoming a Master Gardener and simply get in the dirt kind of thing. I am now crying. Fail.


2014I tried reverse psychology heading into 2014. You’ll see, very little changed.

Growing your own food really is a waste of time. I would much rather just buy our produce from a big old supermarket and pay more for it. So let’s make a promise to grow less fruits and vegetables this year. See prior resolution and prior fail. Fail.

I love having to move large shrubs once they outgrow their location. The pain of digging it out and trying not to destroy all of the plants in its path once it is unearthed is the frickin best. I vow to ignore proper spacing rules in 2014. I have not gained any patience over the years with spacing. Fail.  

I love taking my chances on a plant that deer love to chow down on. Those plants that are not deer friendly, like Allium, are so boring. Again, see prior resolution and subsequent fail. Fail.  

I find berries on shrubs/trees to be such a distraction and an unnecessary mess. Plus all those annoying birds come and devour them. No more plants with berries in 2014. Does it count if berry producing plants have been erratically relocated and/or have been nibbled by deer? I didn’t think so. Fail.  

One of my favorite moments in summer is when we go on vacation and I fail to line someone up to help water the containers. I love the mystery of returning home to see if any of the flowers or even the plants survived. Pure adrenaline. I am going to do more of the same in 2014 and even try to plan our vacation for the hottest and driest part of summer. Beyond epic fail. I fried my containers so badly this year and we didn’t even take a long vacation. Fail.  

The wear and tear, cost and effort of cutting the grass is so worth it. It is so rewarding to spend most of my free time sitting on a lawn tractor. So let’s remove more of those garden beds and add more lawn. While it hasn’t been on a large scale, I have continued to chop away at the lawn. Well look at that. Success.

Native plants are so uninteresting and do not add a lot to the garden. In 2014 we eradicate them all and add more yuccas and hostas. This is hard to fathom, two successes in a row. Success. 

Ignore what my daughter has to say and do my best to fail to live up to her expectations. I have no clue what this was about, but safe to say I’ve failed. Fail.

Remove all blue foliage plants from my garden. I have added some “blue” the past few years. Yeah me. Success.

Keep ignoring my conditions and try to fit a square peg in a round hole. I refuse to attempt to grow a bog garden. This pisses me off. My garden is ripe for a bog or rain garden. Why I haven’t tried is beyond me. Fail. 


2015 – None made. I’m sure I failed with many unwritten resolutions as well.


2016Even the year I try non-gardening resolutions, well, read on.

Stop drinking coffee at night. I managed to stay away for 4 days last week. Before that, not pretty. Fail. 

Make my kids watch the original “Star Wars” movie. Not even close. And they have no interest in “Rogue One” either. Fail.

Floss every night. Does every other week count? Fail.

Read one book a month. I think I managed 3 in 2016. Fail.

Watch one soccer game, I mean match, in its entirety. Why did I care about this again? Doesn’t matter now. Fail.

Eat vegetarian for one week. More like one meal. Fail. 

Cook one meal from scratch each month. Does placing an already prepped meal in the oven and applying the appropriate time count? Fail. 

Call a sports talk radio show. Fail.

More videos on this blog. How many did you see here in 2016? Fail.

Pretend to be a professional photographer for a day. What does this even mean? Fail?

At least finalize the “concept” for a gardening book. Well what do you know, here is one where I can proudly say “Hell yes”. 2017 is the year we see “Ornamental Grasses: A Love Story” come to fruition. Success.    

Write for another blog/publication. Wait, I didn’t see this coming. Another success in the realm of writing? I’m sensing a trend here. Expanding my writing on Medium has already opened some doors and I’m so thrilled to have found my way there. Success.

Stop the PennEast pipeline. The delays have been promising but there is still a long way to go. TBD.


So here is our final tally:

Resolutions made since 2010: 38

Successes: 6

Fails: 31

TBD: 1

Success rate: 22%

With that horrific success rate in mind, it is time to create some resolutions in for 2017 that are just about guarantees. Resolutions that will require little to no effort. Resolutions that are virtual locks.

You are free to remain skeptical based on past numbers.


My 2017 gardening resolutions:

Smile a lot.

Be thankful for each and every moment spent in the garden I’ve weaved for myself.

Remember the stories behind each and every plant.

Never feel pressure to do a thing.

Be aware of the escape the garden provides.

Understand the healing powers of a garden.

Embrace the words that emerge from a summer walk in the garden and enjoy the feeling of typing them.

And most of all, understand how blessed I am to be able to dig out that enormous ornamental grass, chop it up and create 5 more. To be healthy enough and strong enough to still be able to do it. To embrace the patience to watch the new ones mature. To have the resilience to see that grass book become a reality. To never forget the excitement of planting that first grass, a stake in the ground announcing the arrival at our family homestead. Understanding that having family as backbone has allowed me to throw myself into the garden and share its wonders with my readers.

Here’s to 2017 and tossing bullshit resolutions to the side.

Enjoy my friends.

 

Garden resolutions for 2014

Resolutions are useless.

We get a temporary jolt that “this will be the year”, but we all know, shit ain’t going to happen.     

Exhibit A – take a look at my garden resolutions from last year:

Soil test fail
Compostfail
Education – fail
  
I couldn’t have made my resolutions any more attainable and yet I still went 0 for 3.

Dope.

So for this year, we are going to shake it up a bit. A little reverse psychology if you will.

Here we go: 

Growing your own food really is a waste of time. I would much rather just buy our produce from a big old supermarket and pay more for it. So let’s make a promise to grow less fruits and vegetables this year:

I love having to move large shrubs once they outgrow their location. The pain of digging it out and trying not to destroy all of the plants in its path once it is unearthed is the frickin best. I vow to ignore proper spacing rules in 2014:
     

I love taking my chances on a plant that deer love to chow down on. Those plants that are not deer friendly, like Allium, are so boring:
    

 

I find berries on shrubs/trees to be such a distraction and an unnecessary mess. Plus all those annoying birds come and devour them. No more plants with berries in 2014:

One of my favorite moments in summer is when we go on vacation and I fail to line someone up to help water the containers. I love the mystery of returning home to see if any of the flowers or even the plants survived. Pure adrenaline. I am going to do more of the same in 2014 and even try to plan our vacation for the hottest and driest part of summer:     

 

The wear and tear, cost and effort of cutting the grass is so worth it. It is so rewarding to spend most of my free time sitting on a lawn tractor. So let’s remove more of those garden beds and add more lawn:

 
Native plants are so uninteresting and do not add a lot to the garden. In 2014 we eradicate them all and add more yuccas and hostas: 

Ignore what my daughter has to say and do my best to fail to live up to her expectations:

Remove all blue foliage plants from my garden:

 
 
 

Keep ignoring my conditions and try to fit a square peg in a round hole. I refuse to attempt to grow a bog garden:

Happy New Year my friends and let’s ignore our resolutions in 2014.

John

2013 garden resolutions

I know, I know … resolutions are a futile exercise and we forget about them by January 15th.

They are amateurish and a waste of time.

In terms of a blog post, they are so cliche and lack originality.

I get it and really had no intention of creating any resolutions this year. Until late last night …

I’m in bed rifling through the recorded shows on the DVR, looking to clean it up and eventually settled on the few episodes I had remaining for Growing a Greener World.

The episode that caught my eye was “The Dirt on Healthy Soil”. As I watched the host, Joe Lamp’l, gather soil for a soil test, I started to get really pissed off at myself. I call myself a “gardener” and I’ve NEVER tested my soil before. Chew on that for a minute … think my credibility should sink a bit lower? Me too.

But wait, it gets worse …

After “Joe Gardener” walked through the process of how soil is actually tested in the lab (which was really friggin cool by the way) he then took it to the next logical step. We determine our soil deficiencies and then look to address said deficiencies with … wait  for it … you may have heard of this “stuff” before … I believe it is commonly referred to as … compost.

Imagine that. Compost. What a novel idea.            
            
Oh, you’ve heard of it? I swear to you, it’s 12:18 AM and I’m in bed and I am stewing. How can I claim to be an “obsessive” and “neurotic” gardener and not make use of the single most important resource in the world of gardening? Heresy, right?

Oh I made strides two years ago and installed a compost bin and religiously composted all of our table scraps and leaves and grass clippings. But that is where it ended. I naively just dumped and hoped for the best. I got caught up in all of the other gardening tasks and forgot about the most important one. All of that composted material still sits in the bin but it never truly “composted” in a useful way. Son of a …

So as we entered the last day of 2012 and I considered self mutilation, I decided it was time to go back to the basics in 2013. And hence, my gardening resolutions were born. For this upcoming year, I will focus on three simple things:

1)Soil test
2)Compost
3)Education

In fact, I added these three items to the right side bar as a constant reminder to get back to the basics. See it? I’m that serious.

Soil test – as soon as the soil is workable in spring, I will get my samples out for testing and I cannot wait to see the results. Enough of the speculation and guesswork, time to get scientific.

Compost – it will take some time to get the production going, but thanks to that wonderfully inspiring GGW episode from last night, I now know where I can purchase compost in bulk. Check out this link.

Education – this is more of a keep reading, visit local gardens (and to think I’m not too far from both Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer and have never been is another strike against my credibility), talk to other gardeners (take a look at what is literally right down the street from me – Federal Twist), look into becoming a Master Gardener and simply get in the dirt kind of thing.

It is that simple.

I figure if I can address these three areas, then all else will fall into place.

Happy New Year and let’s do this in 2013!

John        

   

             

A look back at my 2011 gardening resolutions

Resolutions are crap.

If I had to estimate how often New Year’s resolutions are actually followed I would put it at 3.19%. Or in other words, close to never.

To prove my hypothesis, I took a look back at my gardening resolutions posted on December 30th of this year (You can read the original post here). I think I actually convinced myself that I could accomplish each of these but as you’ll see, homie failed miserably.

Let’s run through each of them:

1)I vow to include my children more in the gardening process

Didn’t happen.
My daughter had her moments:

But we’re still held back by the fear of bees and I do question her work ethic. Everything she draws includes a picture of a flower, but she isn’t willing to put in the necessary hard labor to grow one herself. I’ll tell you, the kids today do not understand what hard work means. Yes, she is 5 but that is no excuse.      

Chances my son joins me in the garden: 0.01%:



2)I will stay on top of the pruning, especially those perennials that require it for size control

Damn, I’m a failure: 

Where does time go? I have carefully created a spreadsheet that indicates when each of my perennials should be cut back and I still fail to actually do it. Pathetic.


3)I will grow even more of my own food and do it in a sensible way

This was an epic failure even after I planned it all out over the winter and purchased a ton of seeds. I started sowing the seeds too late and couldn’t keep up with the thinning and necessary watering. Here’s the best I could offer:

Again, pathetic and embarrassing.



4)I will dig like a champ, put my body through complete torture and revel in the pain 


You’ll notice there are no accompanying photos. That’s because I ain’t got jack shit to show you. 


5)I will continue to incorporate more and more native plants

Finally, a bit of success! I added …

Sorghastrum (Indian Grass) ‘Sioux Blue’ 

 

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’

Physotegia (Obedient Plant) ‘Summer Snow’

Amelanchier (Serviceberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’

Crataegus (Hawthorn) ‘Winter King’ 

Score one for ONG!



6)I will admit defeat to the deer

I still tried to sneak daylillies, geraniums and irises by those f’ers and they forgot about them up until about two weeks ago. Not too bad, but now I’m afraid I’m back to thinking I can outsmart them so I’m stuck in this evil vortex once again:        



7)I will do my best to stop and “smell the roses” more often

Funny that I used roses in this one as I couldn’t grow a rose successfully even if I dedicated my life to trying. Anyway, as the kids get older and are more involved with sports and other activities, I find that my gardening time continues to shrink. What little time is available becomes very task oriented and time to just chillax doesn’t exist.

If you are scoring at home, that is 1 out of 7. Not good. In baseball terms, I’m hitting .143; below the Mendoza line and a definite reason to be benched.

I know I’ll come up with new resolutions for 2012 but maybe I’ll keep them a bit more realistic this year. Yeah right, I’m sure I’ll fall right back into the same trap but at least it is worth the comedic relief to look back at my glorious failures.

John