When I was a neophyte gardener a few years ago, I was timid about pruning back older plants. I thought they'd die of shock if I trimmed them. Not so. One friend has been a great sounding board for my gardening questions through the years and she has given me dozens of cuttings and starter plants. She gave me my gardening gloves and showed me the how-to about nearly everything in my garden. It's quite a thing to have a mentor, whether they see themselves as one or not. In this case, we see each other as friends and agree that digging in the dirt to make things grow is a huge pleasure. She's just been doing it a whole lot longer than I have.
Thanks to her, I am bolder and more at home in the garden - just like I imagined I would be. But I needed her guidance, and she has been giving it steadily through the past dozen or more years.
My friend grew up in a family of siblings who all admire a fine garden and who are all resourceful and don't mind rolling up sleeves, donning gloves and getting to work if it's needed. They cook what they grow and spend time with each other talking and working. And laughing. I just listen, lucky me, and join in the work, which never seems like work at all.
So, two days ago when I had a day off, my friend and I went out into my yard, took a look around and then drove over to Cypress Garden Nursery in Monterey to see what we might see. One mustn't hurry through a garden center on a fine day with a good friend at one's side. This is early in the year to be looking for six packs of color spots for a spring garden, but what we did see satisfied us, and I made a few purchases. Euphorbia was one choice, and I've put it in a fine old terra cotta pot an uncle gave me a few years ago and it has a sunny spot where it will look handsome.
Once I said good-bye to my friend that day, I set to work pruning the abutilon monster that had taken over one whole area. That bugger just needs a dose of rain and then grows like wild, and it's always blooming. I finally pruned the roses and everything got fertilized and watered. It felt good to do the work, all preparatory tasks and chores that will ensure a bounty of blossoms later on.
Gardening is satisfying, so much so that a sense of generosity somehow arises as the tasks are undertaken and your hands have been busy with roots, stems, tools and soil. The earth and plants will do what they do, but to be able to facilitate the life within them to become optimal so that they flourish and thrive can be the most nourishing and calming things a person can ever do.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way