The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

Gardeners Giving Thanks

Photo of Sandra Mason

Sandra Mason
Extension Educator, Horticulture
slmason@illinois.edu

As a gardener I am thankful for many things. I am thankful that creeping Charlie makes my lawn look lush and green…from far away. I am thankful that the eating machines we call caterpillars, eventually turn into lovely flights of color.

That I have a loving husband who calmly waits for my return while I enter my glassy eyed new plant trance.

I am thankful that I can look into the eye of a flower and see the beauty of the whole world. I am thankful that there are still wild places and that there are people who passionately work to keep them wild. That I have winter to plan and reminisce over last year's garden, but in spring I get another chance to try new things and continue old traditions. I'm thankful that odoriferous manure becomes the sweet black gold of compost. I'm thankful that I get to work with some of the most giving people in the world - gardeners.

A few entries in a gardener's gratitude journal:

  • the first frost so we don't have to pick any more zucchini
  • that bears and rattlesnakes are not on our list of garden pests
  • garden failures that give us a chance to learn and a reason to buy another plant
  • security that we don't feel the need to carry a gun when we garden
  • changing seasons so we get second chances and a time to finally rest
  • the best soil in the world that will grow just about anything
  • that we share the planet with plenty of other insane gardeners so we don't look quite so crazy
  • plants that continue to thrive despite our neglect
  • the continuing sense of inspiration when we commune with a 200 year old oak
  • being able to see a live 200 year old oak tree
  • not having to water much of anything this year
  • plants listed as "not eaten by rabbits"
  • the ongoing discovery of the true list of which plants are "not eaten by rabbits"
  • tomatoes that still produce something edible despite sharing their space with three-foot tall weeds
  • spring flowers that magically appear after a long winter
  • the taste of the first home grown strawberry of the season
  • the taste of the last tomato of the season
  • roses continuing to bloom in November
  • the freedom to grow vegetables because we want to, not because we have to
  • the optimistic attitude that next year will be better
  • and the selective memory to weed out the bad stuff from last year

If you need a reason to look forward to next year, here are a few events to keep your green thumb itching.

January 6-8, 2010: Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference, Crowne Plaza, Springfield, IL. Speak with educators and growers, and check out markets. Programs cover a wide variety of crops including apples, peaches, grapes, vegetables, organics and herbs. http://www.specialtygrowers.org PH: 309-557-2107.

January 20-22: MidAm Trade Show and Workshops McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. This is the place to be for educational programs and to check out all the latest gizmos and gadgets. See what's hot and what's new in landscaping, flowers, turf, and trees. www.midam.org PH: 800-223-8761.

January 16: Herb Day at Holiday Inn in Urbana. PH: 217-333-1969.

January 23: A Winter Day in the Garden. Sponsored by the Crawford County Master Gardeners and Lincoln Trail College at Lincoln Trail's Zwermann Theatre in Robinson, IL http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/crawford or call 618-546-1549.

March 6-14: Chicago Flower and Garden Show Navy Pier Chicago, IL. Enjoy lovely gardens, educational seminars, cooking demonstrations and marketplace. http://www.chicagoflower.com/ PH: 773-435-1250.

March 26 and 27 Spring into Gardening Garden Day 2010 sponsored by UI Extension Champaign County Master Gardeners at I-Hotel Champaign, IL.. Enjoy nationally known speakers and shop among unique vendors. To register go to http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/champaign/ or call 217-333-7672.

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