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Monday, April 19, 2010

Garden Etiquette

My garden, normally a place of great enjoyment has proved to be a place which has been giving me a bad hair day for the last couple of days. I guess it must be the Mercury in Taurus least my horrorscope said that it was going to be a rough several days.

I took a little break from struggling with my tax issue (which is really making my head spin) to kill some thistle and dandelions which are making their way at a gallop from my neighbor's yard.

While there, my other neighbor, who really is a sweet soul, hailed me. "Hey Lis! Can I borrow some of your vegetable garden? I've planted too much and need to have a little ground."

What do you have in mind?

"Oh, well, I have 8 zucchini plants, some lizard tongue beans, some black beans, peppers and stuff. Can I just put them in your garden?"

Hmm. Sounds like you need to open a patch. That's a lot of stuff!

"Well, that's one of the disadvantages of living on a corner lot. I don't want people to have to look at my vegetable garden."


My vegetable garden, dear readers, is all of 18' x 25'. I have been trying to figure out how I am going to get the amount of beans, carrots, beets (for me), garlic, onions, peppers and lots of tomatoes, lettuce and squash in for me....not counting gardenzilla's stock.

Being in my garden also made me see how the warm weather has made everything bound....and if I'm going to move, divide and transplant some of these things, it needs to be done now.

Now, I spend a lot of time and energy in my garden. I have things most people don't have, and I have had to break ground here for it all...the vegetable garden was a patch of sod. My multitudinous flower beds, not much more than that.

Since much of my material has now been in since 2005, I need to make some divisions. Last summer, I gave away quite a bit of plant material to a couple of people. Dividing and sharing is good. It's good for the plants, and it's good for the garden. If something happens and you lose something, then it is possible to borrow back a slip or two. Plus, it's just good garden manners.

Which brings me to a couple of items of garden etiquette. I don't know why it is, but I seem to have a lot of people asking me for starts. I'm happy to oblige, but it seems like some people have to have some gardening dos and don'ts pointed out.

I'm sure that none of you would do this, but don't ask a gardener for a division and then, after they have made the division and potted it up (which takes time and I have to say in my garden, anything but clay is a hardship to give my soil is so heavy), don't show up to pick it up. I snarled today as I looked at 7 pots of plants that someone "had to have" and they never came to get them.

Please, if you want divisions, come when it is good for the plant and good for the garden giver. That is to say, some things should be divided now. If you wait until June, then it will create holes in the gardeners beds, and it might not be the best time to move them. Three weeks ago, I told a woman "come now. Don't wait." I have yet to see her darken my garden gate.

Come prepared to wrap and take away your plants yourself. Don't expect delivery. Let the gardener dig them for you as they know what they want to give and how much they can spare. In my garden, what you think might be a weed, might just be a rare plant, so watch where you step. Be prepared with pots and damp newspaper. Soil is something which here is hard to replace. While I have lots of pots at present, it isn't always that way so make sure you know what you need.

Teach the small fry how to appreciate flowers. Don't let them pick them. Have them ask the gardener first, and have the gardener show them how to pick the flowers. I've had heuchera ripped from the ground from over zealous kids. Not all gardeners want their flowers picked...My friend Martha often repeats the story of the gardener who when asked why he didn't pick the flowers to take them into the house responded "I like children, but I don't cut their heads off and put them in a vase inside."

Come to my garden, enjoy it...but please have some sensitivity to the gardener.

The plants shown here are P asque flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris). True to their name, they usually bloom right around Easter. I have them in white, deep purple, and magenta. There is a soft pink, but I'm not really a pink person. I love the seed heads which you see as the first image here--they remind me of some sort of plant which Doctor Seuss would draw.


Carole said...

Loved this stroll through your garden... sigh... being in a condo really limits [?.. as in non-existent] anything like what you have. Oh, well... we have had our day, and it was great and fun... good memories. Thank you for sharing.

Michigoose said...

Lol...Carole, just after I married, I lived in a condo with my husband. While there, I had pots a plenty on the deck. When we got a house, I transfered many of my babies from my parents home in Michigan (I grew true lilies, iris, and other plants there) to my home in Connecticut.

As I was setting out tomato plants (in "wall-o-water" which makes sort of a cloche) today, I was thinking that my back was killing me from all the stooping....and that perhaps a condo wasn't such a bad idea!

Jessica said...

Oh I so know what you mean. LOL FYI, I would tell the gardener no regarding using your space. Just politely say "you know I would but I am not sure if I have enough room myself. I will let you know if anyone else has room for both of our excess." Sheesh they have no problem letting people see their veggies provided it isn't in their yard?? You have a heart of gold because if it were me I would have probably thunked them on the forehead like the V8 commercial :P


Michigoose said...

Jessica, I can just see myself doing that! If he weren't such a nice guy I probably would. Instead, I am gritting my teeth and setting out My plants in the way in which I intended, THEN I'll call him over and he can try to wedge his in.