Are Gardeners Allowed to Take a Break?

adirondack-chair-x

Discover how you can build Adirondack chairs like these by visiting This Old House

By Michael Leach

Putting the white Adirondack chairs on the cozy, brick-paved patio symbolizes spring for me, almost as much as sunny daffodils and fluttering kites in blue skies.

 While a thorough cleaning remains to be done, these chairs already do nicely for breaks from the lengthy, early spring chore list. In recent years I’ve found that getting out of those chairs becomes harder and harder. Age isn’t the only factor.

 I suppose Auntie Mame, the zany subject of a novel, movie and Broadway plays sums it up best, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” For us green thumbs, substitute “The garden” for “life”. The suckers spend all their time nurturing their gardens rather than allowing the garden to nurture them.

 Unlike some gardeners, who claim they can’t sit in their backyard Edens because they always see something to do, I learned to turn a blind eye. Only the area around the patio is regularly groomed. This allows me to use the space (weather permitting) whenever company comes, a break is needed, or I want to enhance morning coffee or something cool to sip in the evening. Patio time brings peace and pleasure, not a guilt trip.

 This is why it’s important to consider garden furnishings as much more than decorative focal points or accents. Besides the patio, the maple-shaded picnic table and an aluminum reproduction of a cast iron Victorian bench beside the sycamore tree are frequently used in clement weather.

 Granted, we gardeners are blessed. What many consider drudgery, we delight in. Letting go of weeds, watering cans, trowels, pruning shears and shovels isn’t easy because we derive intense pleasure from working among plants, tending the soil and keeping things tidy.

 Too often, however, we obsess over details no one sees — unless we stupidly point them out. Those gorilla in the picture studies show it would take a thistle the size of King Kong before most guests will notice anything amiss in the perennial borders or vegetable beds. If yours is a reputation of plant nerd, they might compliment you on this towering horticultural achievement.

 Dormancy is natural, going all the time isn’t. Not that I’m giving you permission to plop down for the rest of the season. Not hardly. A friend, who died last fall at 102 and gardened until well into her 90s, always advised, “Never let the rocking chair get you.”

 She also recognized that rest is not a dirty, four-letter word.

Spring Countdown: 9 days

By Abby Fullen

After a long winter of dull gray, white, and depressing, there’s no better way to brighten up your garden than by adding the Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid, in your garden.

This year’s trendy color is described by Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute and the visionary behind Pantone’s Color of the Year, as a “descend[ant] from the purple family, which is kind of a magical color that denotes creativity and innovation. Purple is just that kind of a complex, interesting, attracting kind of color…[The] back-story to purple is that it inspires confidence in your creativity, and we’re living in a world where that kind of creative innovation is greatly admired. In the world of color, purple is an attention-getter, and it has a meaning. It speaks to people, and we felt that it was time for the purple family to be celebrated.”

pantone.com

pantone.com

The color purple is a rare find in nature. Our earlier ancestors probably never saw a purple anything. According to colormatters.com, “The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C. It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye- barely enough for dying a single garment the size of the Roman toga. It’s no wonder then, that this color was used primarily for garments of the emperors or privileged individuals.”

Purple is indicative of nobility and luxury to many people around the world. The shade of purple is important, too. Lighter shades of the color are light-hearted, floral, and romantic. Seems appropriate then that Radiant Orchid is a lighter shade of purple, don’t you think?

As the name implies, Radiant Orchid can be a very bright, eye-catching color. But then, who wouldn’t want to show off their newly accented-with-orchid garden? If you’re unsure, start small. Plant a couple orchid-colored floral plants here and there, and add to the appeal by incorporating the color to a porch or patio, too. Here are some great ways to show off this bright, new, winter-busting color.

Abby Fullen is a Senior at Hilliard Davidson High School. She tends a square-foot vegetable garden with her mother. This piece was written to serve in conjunction with her Career Mentorship class at the Dale McVey Innovative Learning Center.Abby-radiantOrchid

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