Garden Thanksgiving

By on November 19, 2018
 I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving, including these primroses blooming this November in my garden. Photo by Kristina Gabalski

I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving, including these primroses blooming this November in my garden. Photo by Kristina Gabalski

The weather this fall has made it especially difficult to get end of year garden  chores accomplished, but despite that and the many frustrations of gardening,  there is still much to be grateful for as Thanksgiving 2018 nears.  Here are just a few

All the friends we make while gardening – especially the little ones like beneficial insects.  In fact, most insects are helpful to gardeners and to humankind.  It’s amazing to see that ladybugs really do eat aphids and pollinators from honeybees to native bees to butterflies are vital to crop production.  Birds are also constant companions in the garden, especially while harvesting in the early morning hours or when the late season blooms bring territorial hummingbirds buzzing overhead.

Our fantastic local garden centers are another reason local gardeners can be grateful. One-on-one advice from nursery owners and experts on staff  – those who know our climate, soil and the plant varieties which will grow best – can’t be found anywhere else. Our beautiful local garden centers also provide inspiration with display gardens and new varieties to try.

More and more gardeners are also appreciating native plants and are choosing to landscape with native varieties of shrubs, trees and perennial flowers. Native landscapes are beautiful, provide multi-season interest, need less maintenance, conserve water, and provide habitat for birds and wildlife. Native landscapes support native pollinators and are much hardier as we learn to deal with the challenges of climate changes and swings.

Gardeners who compost are certainly grateful for the organic material provided by nature itself to enrich and make new soil. Garden waste, food scraps and even manure are not garbage, but valuable material that nature uses for growth. It is remarkable how nothing is wasted in nature, and as gardeners, it is helpful to try to imitate the natural world as much as we can.

Gardening also makes us grateful for the changing seasons, even winter. After the  first killing frost, the intense work of the growing season eases back. There is always work to do, but winter provides a welcome annual break and time to hope and plan for the future.  We assess what went right and what went wrong with the previous growing season, and what to do to make things better next year.

The harvest – whether it’s vegetables, fruits, herbs, or flowers – is always something for which to be grateful.  Food you’ve grown yourself in your own garden always tastes best. The harvest can be enjoyed from early spring with rhubarb, lettuce and spinach, all the way to winter, when root crops like carrots can be dug  even after the snow flies.  Hoop houses, greenhouses and other season extending tools make year-round growing and harvesting a reality.

Lastly, gardeners are thankful for the many gardening surprises that happen every year.  The plant thought dead which comes back to life, the volunteer plants which find a perfect spot all on their own, the sunflowers planted by busy chipmunks, and the roses that sometimes bloom even into December. It’s amazing how tough they can be – just like gardeners who look beyond the hard work and disappointments to see the garden’s year-round beauty.