Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Storm Weary Gardeners Take Storm Damage in Stride

barrysyard To many gardeners, landscapes are much more than inanimate plants and trees.

Gardeners can become attached to their gardens in ways that are not always understood by the non-gardener. They have carefully selected their plants, lovingly placed them in the ground, nurtured them and watched them grow. Plants feed their bodies, feed their souls and allow a rather intimate relationship with the birds, butterflies and other wildlife that reside among them.

So when any severe weather phenomenon comes through and destroys what they have created, a gardener can feel a great sense of loss. And in some cases, severe weather may be enough to make plant hobbyists “throw in the trowel”. But for dedicated gardeners and nature lovers, acts of nature are all just taken in stride.

For some, it is the love of wildlife that motivates them. Even the sight of broken trees and damaged plants are quickly forgotten when they see butterflies and hummingbirds feeding on the plants that are still standing.

For others, gardening is a hobby that is just in their blood.

“It’s almost like our gardens were the victim of a violent crime,” my friend Kathy once said when walking through her garden after a violent storm. ”Except you can't catch Mother Nature and put her in jail. You have to be philosophic – even if you don't feel like being philosophic. Gardening and collecting plants is our passion and will always be a part of our lives.

While listening to the stories of fellow gardeners this week, one trait always seemed to shine through. In the midst of all the work and the cleanup, they were all still delighted when they uncovered hidden new growth. And they all still took time to stop and smell the flowers.

Well into another day of cleanup, Maryland resident Barry Louis Polisar summed up a true gardener’s feelings pretty well when he said: “It’s just the price we pay for living in Paradise.”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your photo, Barry. (You can see lots more of Barry’s photos, as well as learn about his great musical endeavors, on his Facebook page).

America the Beautiful – Native plant species add to the beauty of our country

black_eyed_susanI love using native plants whenever I can because I think they have many benefits to the environment. Native plants, when selected to work with your particular site conditions, usually require less water, less chemicals and less labor while providing food and habitat for native wildlife. Because of my love of native plants, my ears perked up when I heard this particular comment while watching The Victory Garden on PBS the other morning. During a short clip on native plants, Jamie Durie, a horticulturalist and international award-winning landscape designer, said “Over 30 of America’s state flowers and trees have been pushed out of their state natural habitat through urban sprawl and climate change.” Wow. That seemed like a pretty dramatic statement so I did some searching on the internet to see if I could find anything that verified that statement and I couldn’t. I also asked for more info about the statement on the Victory Garden website but have not, as yet, received a reply. I did, however, find some information on the U.S. National Arboretum website that seems to indicate that many state flowers aren’t actually native to the states that designated them as such, but “were chosen because of their beauty or importance, not because they represent the natural flora of the state they represent.” So, I think this just might be another example of “you can’t believe everything you hear.” In any case, it’s always a great idea to use native plants when you can. Here are some of the great native plants lists we have featured on the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog: Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July, enjoying the beauty of the world around you.

Website by Water Words That Work LLC