Tag Archives: New Year’s 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.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I had planned on getting this post out last week, but you know, I kind of broke the internet, so it had to be delayed until today. I’m sure you’ve had your fill of “Year End Reviews” and “2016 New Year’s Resolutions” but I don’t care, this post is solely for me. Seriously, I throw no ill will your way if you want to bolt right now.

I get it.

Get out of here already.

No big proclamations this year and no epic New Year’s Resolutions to report (maybe 1-2 of those, but I can’t talk about them here). Instead, we’ll go with a series of easily attainable items as a means to pump up this serial underachiever. Low hanging fruit if you will.

If I can’t succeed in accomplishing at least 75% of these, there is officially no hope.

I will use this post to track my New Year’s Resolutions progress throughout the year to make sure I am on pace to accomplish my goals and will review them regularly with my supervisor. A mid year progress report will be compiled and shared with you all here.

Without further ado, my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:

Stop drinking coffee at night – It all started ten years ago as a means to keep awake for the night shift after my daughter was born. It then transformed into a “reward” for myself after the kids were in bed each evening. It is now a full blown addiction and I’ve had enough. How many more times will I read about the importance of sleep and not do anything about it?

coffee

Truth is, I am already 4 nights in and no coffee. Instead, it has been replaced by a nightly “Calm” drink which is allegedly giving me my daily dose of calcium and potassium. Thanks Lorraine!

Make my kids watch the original “Star Wars” movie – Yes I know it isn’t close to the same experience I had back in 1977 as a 5 year old, but I owe it to them to at least give it a shot. We’ve tried for years now and they have shown little interest but with the release of the latest movie, now is the time to seize the opportunity. My fear is that what I find so charming now, they will find as poor and outdated technology.

A consolation prize would be if the theme song is added to either one of their playlists on Apple Music. And not this version:

Floss every night – No further explanation required. 2 out of 7 days isn’t cutting it and I’m sick of the dental hygienists giving me that look.

Read one book a month –  Like I said, low hanging fruit. I’ve ignored books for years running now as they’ve been replaced by online reading/surfing. Yes, I do read intelligent and informative works online, but it doesn’t replace the book. I want to giggle, cry and cower in the corner with fear by March. No excuses.

Watch one soccer game, I mean match, in its entirety – What am I missing when 90% of the world is scary passionate about a game where .27 goals are scored per game?

soccer

Is it the magic of that one pass that is a thing of beauty? Is it the hilarity of grown men feigning injury every other play?

Eat vegetarian for one week – Lofty goals, eh? I’ve been threatening to do this for years and now is the time to see it through. I could give you a number of reasons as to why I want to do this, but for now it is really just to see if I can pull it off. Shouldn’t be too difficult since I grow a ton of veggies in my own garden.

tomato2

Am I that reliant upon meat in my diet? Will I feel any different?

Cook one meal from scratch each month – I’m really exposing myself as non-evolved with these, damn. I admittedly get a panic attack whenever I cook prepare a meal. Multi-tasking is not a strong suit and it rears its ugly head when I’m in the kitchen. I hate trying to time it all to finish concurrently and the frustration leads to dumb mistakes and missed ingredients.

Maybe if I put together a schedule and prep way ahead of time, I can pull it off. If not, it still makes for great blog fodder.

Call a sports talk radio show – Just so I can say “first time caller, long time listener” and to make my future broadcaster son proud of me.

mets jack sny

More videos on this blog – True confession – For Christmas, my wife presented me with a series of books that were basically 6 years of this blog converted into book form. I cried when I opened them. I shit you not. It was a biography of our family, not to mention like 10,167 plants, and the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. That woman just gets it. Thank the high heavens she looked past my immaturity back in 1990 and agreed to go along for the ride.

So now I need to create more video here to further cement and document our place in this world. Hopefully the kids don’t get all sensitive on me and shy away. Videos of me cooking badly, videos of us training the dog, videos of actual good cooking skills from my wife and other dull everyday events that we’ll be thrilled we captured years from now.

Pretend to be a professional photographer for a day – I have to be honest here, this one has already been fully mapped out. The family is going to Florida in February to spend three days watching the New York Mets during Spring Training. For one of those days, I plan on wearing a homemade press pass around my neck and being obnoxious as I photograph the players doing their thing. Even if it gets me nowhere, I will still be able to provide you with killer pics like this when all is said and done.

mets collins 2

At least finalize the “concept” for a gardening book – I have so many ideas swirling around in my noggin and it’s time to fine tune it down to one killer idea.

idea

One more year out in the garden should be sufficient inspiration and if any of you have any great ideas you could always email me on the sly and I can pretend I came up with it.

Write for another blog/publication – It’s no secret, I love to write and I hope it isn’t too late to still try and pursue it as a vocation. Be it sports related, garden related or even cooking related (yeah you heard me), it’s time to stretch the wings even more. The worst someone can say is “No … and you really ought to pursue another line of work but damn you had the cajones to give it a try.”

Stop the PennEast pipeline – Want to feel the blood boil? Read this:

Signing Your Rights Away

I can vouch for it all having seen a copy of a friend’s letter myself. The way this company has operated from day one has been the opposite of transparent and their attempts to swindle people out of their land through purposely vague and deceitful means should piss you off to no end regardless of how you feel about natural gas.

In 2016, we blow their minds and put an end to their charade.

There you have it, my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.

Grats.

 

 

Garden resolutions for 2012

We all know we never fulfill our New Year’s resolutions. NEVER. Just take a look at how I failed miserably  with my 2011 gardening resolutions.

I bet if you did your research, you would find that more lettuce is eaten the first week of January than any other week in the year. We convince ourselves THIS will be the year we will stick to our lofty goals. Sure you will.

After saying all that, I cannot resist setting my own gardening “goals” (sounds more attainable than “resolutions”) for the new year. It kick starts my enthusiasm to start planning as we enter the dead of winter. A chance to dream of spring and emerging bulbs.

So without further ado, I give you my five step gardening plan for 2012:

1. Expand, expand, expand – As I’ve mentioned previously, I live on a large lot (2+ acres) that was a blank canvas when we moved in back in 2004. It’s been a slow process to expand the garden out into the yard. I blame it on lack of time, the fear of deer and poorly draining soil. As a result, I have way too much lawn to maintain:              

Besides the desire to cut down on the lawn maintenance time, I really want to lure visitors (kind of sounds creepy) further out into the yard. I want to add more paths and “destinations” that will encourage you to want to explore more.

This is the view out of the back of my home and for years I’ve planned on creating a woodland garden underneath the only mature tree on my property. I’m thinking benches and deer resistant shrubs and grasses:    

So it is time to dedicate myself to moving beyond the garden beds that surround the house:

2. Foliage, foliage, foliage – The reality of my garden situation is that I have clay soil that does not drain well and my yard is infested with deer and rabbits. That does not lend itself to a garden full of flowers. The key is to focus on foliage with contrasting colors, shape and textures. I can strategically utilize flowers where possible (damn you spring plant catalogs and your beautiful flowers), but the focus and theme will be on the foliage:      

3. 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. Like an idiot, I completely ignored an existing raised bed I’ve had for years and it looked like this most of the year:

No more. I’m imagining rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chives, tomatoes, etc. I mean seriously, my wife is a world class cook and I’m not providing her with the necessary fresh ingredients.

4. 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. So …

Good bye Phlox paniculata:

Good bye Weeping Cherry Tree:

Good bye daylillies:

And good bye Geranium ‘Brookside’:

5. Visit more gardens and get my ass inspired – For reasons unknown, I have not taken advantage of all of the public gardens at my disposal and that is a friggin shame. I’m missing out on so much and that needs to change. This past summer, I finally made my way to the New York Botanical Garden and what an experience it was. I felt energized by all of the displays and was immediately inspired to experiment:  

So there you go, my 2012 gardening resolutions are out there and now the pressure is on to actually see that I meet these objectives.

Happy new year to you all and we’ll do this again in 2012!

John