Resolve to enjoy gardening in 2018

By on January 22, 2018
Resolve to really enjoy your garden this year. Try growing new varieties and make the most of your harvest - whether it’s vegetables, fruits, herbs or flowers. K. Gabalski photo

Resolve to really enjoy your garden this year. Try growing new varieties and make the most of your harvest - whether it’s vegetables, fruits, herbs or flowers. K. Gabalski photo

January is the time for making resolutions as the new year begins, and because the winter months tend to be a time of rest for gardeners, it is also a great time for reflection. I’ve been looking through lists of gardening resolutions for inspiration and have chosen some of my favorites.

For all its rewards, gardening can be hard work filled with frustrations. Each year brings challenges from weather, pests and disease, and many failures along with the successes.  However, the best resolution I found was simply to take the mindful step of relaxing and enjoying the process of gardening – keep a positive frame of mind and take note of the beauty around you as you till, plant, weed and prune. The fact that your gardening engages you with your yard and nature, and gives you a reason to be  outside, is truly a blessing. View your experiences as an adventure – gardening is not meant to be drudgery.

Take time to appreciate the fruits of your labor.  Create a quiet spot in your yard where you can unplug.  Relax and enjoy the view, read or even meditate.  Enjoy simply watching your plants grow and change during the season.  There is something new in the garden every day.

Your garden can benefit others in multiple ways.  Extra vegetables can be donated to food pantries and flowers to nursing homes.  Beautifying your home surroundings with colorful and fruitful plantings adds to the beautification of your entire neighborhood and community.  You can help your community welcome visitors and add to the quality of life of your neighbors with your gardening efforts.

Try going outside your comfort zone this year. Experiment with new varieties of the vegetables you grow each year.  Try something totally new and resolve to use it in a new recipe.  Containers are great for experimentation and allow you to easily maintain a plant. There are so many kinds of beautiful, easy-to-grow annual flowers.  Sunflowers come in an amazing mix of colors and heights and are fast growing.  They can be planted throughout the growing season (even into mid-to-late August) for bloom until the first killing frost.

Their seedlings are remarkably hardy as well, meaning you can try to plant them early in the spring for early summer bloom. Take a look at the new varieties of zinnias.  Expand your growing season and learn ways to preserve your harvest.

Before the intense work of spring clean-up and planting begins, consider gardening classes offered by local Cooperative Extension offices or the Rochester Civic Garden Center.  Visit the Lamberton Conservatory in Highland Park or the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens to enjoy their tropical and desert plant collections and get a break from the cold.

Finally, resolve to shop and buy local.  Local garden centers offer the best plants and expertise for our growing climate.  They are our neighbors. We need them and they will thrive with our support.

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