In the Garden

Things Learned About Life in the Garden

Until reaching adulthood, I thought red geraniums were the only flower ever planted. That’s all my mother ever bought and all I knew. Imagine my surprise when I visited the plant nursery for the first time! Geraniums come in pinks and white, and there are so many other choices!

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Beautiful american cone flowers in close up, photographet at sunset
  • The first thing I learned about gardening is there is such incredible diversity — all sorts of shapes, heights, textures, colors and variations. Gardening in early Spring is a most pleasant experience. So much beauty to behold. It’s heaven on earth.
  • I learned that some plants work better in some places than others, and sometimes in unexpected places. The instructions may say “sun” or “shade” – but don’t let that fool you. Over time, I’ve learned that begonias say, “grows in shade,” but actually can tolerate a lot of sun. Experiment.
  • Fact is some plants don’t grow for lots of reasons: too much heat, sun, shade, poor drainage, poor soil content, crowding — and sometimes, they just aren’t “happy.” Plants can find their “happy” place in locations and grow profusely; conversely, some should work in a particular spot and just don’t. Note to the gardener: don’t take this personally. Plants are just like that.
  • I prefer perennials to annuals. There is a warm feeling in greeting a perennial peeking up through the dirt in early Spring. Tiny green heads emerging randomly after a long, cold winter gives gardeners comfort in nature’s elegant renewal.
  • I have learned to live without my Yankee plants — lilacs, dogwoods, and rhododendrons — and have found several spectacular replacements that would not grow up north — yellow bells are a favorite.
  • Those beautiful Texas wildflowers are actually weeds — bluebonnets, coreopsis, primrose, Indian paintbrush. They are God’s reward for enduring Texas summers.
  • I have acquired a green thumb over a lifetime. Mostly, my flowers flourish. I’ve learned their ways in different climates and settings, and enjoy the peace of dwelling in the garden. I converse with plants by caring for them. We understand one another in quiet conversation. Curiously, I’ve never had good luck with geraniums. Sorry, Mom. I’ve moved on. It’s a whole new diverse world out there and I’m happy to be part of it!

Barbara Glass

A Yankee by birth, a Midwesterner and Southerner by heritage, Barbara Glass lived in Texas for 20 years and em­braced all things Southwest. She celebrates aging by experiencing it firsthand, and helping the next generations along the way, including her own children and grandchildren. “I try to bring an understanding of the aging perspective within the context of community and nonprofit initiatives”. Part of this engagement is writing about aging in celebratory and thoughtful ways. “I’m living the dream by telling our stories.”

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