The Resolution Revolution

Like a splash of water on the face, as we stare at our future in the mirror, the first of the year revives us. Or that is the illusion, perhaps, reflected in the dim mirror of the winter solstice.

New Year’s resolutions arrive, appropriately enough, when the sun arcs its lowest horizontal path across the northern hemisphere, robbing us of the light of day. Possibilities hang before us in the air, like the next twelve months of our lives. What shall we do when we turn from this mirror?

New garden designs gather in the mind, along with dancing sugar plum fairies. New cultivars bewitch us from their frames in the new plant catalogues. A sense of togetherness grows stronger, in spite of family holidays or, perhaps, hopefully, because of them.

And what about that body underneath the face? Sure could use more stretching, bending, squatting, kneeling and pulling than it had last year. Am I right?

Sandwiched between the ears is a lot of white and an uncertain amount of grey matter. Let us bone up this winter on our plant knowledge and garden methodology. Also, an inventory or even just a meditation on our tactics would help. Tactics are unconscious—“second nature”. Therefore, like the memory palaces of old, running through our spring and summer routines, and anticipating our long-held habits, rarely hurts and always helps. “The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone” and so on, all the way up to the “sun bone”. Somewhere in all that are garden bones. It is a good idea to memorize them too.

At Heronswood, we have been hacking away at the new catalogue underbrush. Soon it will arrive, gleaming, on your door step, tossed by St. Fiacre’s newsboy. The rational, sometimes joyful, sometimes onerous work of creating the mouth-watering new cultivars is over. We continue to test shipping container endurance—bang-up and freezing temperatures. Only you will be the final judge.

Want to save money? Grow a vegetable garden in full sun. Want to feel deeply satisfied? Grow a perennial garden, or a series of them here and there throughout your yard, back and front.

Hungering for a sense of togetherness or simply a connection to your neighbors? Join a local garden club. Or haul your family out into the yard and create your own version. Organize a garden block party—it may not be easy at first, but neither is spinning class.

I have said before that air, water and sunlight comprise the greatest show on earth. Moreover, a garden seems to focus the main New Year’s resolutions in one time and place. It is both simple and elegant. Plus, your life will never be the same after taking on a garden.

Gardening beats worldly vices to a pulp. Even some metaphysical vices as well, but in my post catalogue partum depression blues, I cannot recall which ones. Or maybe the garden confers so much a sense of grace and redemption that virtues simply replace the empty spaces the worldly vices left behind. Thank God.

Long live the garden resolution revolution!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 at 4:59 pm and is filed under Original Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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5 Responses to “The Resolution Revolution”

  1. Tara Dillard said:

    Yes, gardening is a vice! One thing I know for sure? Zero regrets for money spent in the garden.

    Not a new garden designer but I’m only as good as my last design. Making me new everyday.

    Please, you forgot to mention trees/shrubs/groundcovers along with the vegetables/perennials.

    They are easier to maintain & most are cheaper/square foot than perennials. Beautiful landscapes are easy & affordable when they are designed to be. It’s a choice made on the front end.

    I appreciate your take on gardening & look forward to your posts.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara Dillard

  2. Meryl Selig said:

    Your writing is perfect, in tone, content and every-which way. Thank you. I am archiving them.

    Looking forward to 2010.. I already have my annual “garden tweakage” underway. Those new cultivars of myriad species keep things changing all the time.

    Thank you

  3. Bronwyn said:

    I love the catalog sent in the mail…the pictures, descriptions and especially the explanation of what flower combinations go together. I’m spending most of the winter gazing at your catalog.

  4. Charles Johnson said:

    I have come to appreciate Heronswood very much – but two years ago, I purchased one Linaria ‘Pink Birds’ – loved it – but it didn’t survive the winter. Yours is the only nursery where I have ever seen it advertised. Now I am trying to grow it from seed = bery difficult. How about including it again sometime – soon. I don’t have too many more years at this game.

  5. nadia said:

    Happy New Year! I wrote a blog today about Gardener’s Resolutions… I look forward to a new year in the garden with new goals, new plants, new miracles!

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