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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2014 – I 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.
2016 – Even 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
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.