December 22, 2013

Reflections on 2013

Some muses from the past 12 months (notes to myself, in no particular order):

  • don't bother growing cannas with the intention of overwintering them. Yes, you did cut the stalks off but were too busy lazy to dry the tubers, break open the bag of perlite and store them in the basement. Accept them as annuals.

  • 2014 could be year to shovel prune the three purple leaf sandcherry (Prunus x cistena) standards in the backyard that are afflicted with scale, rust, sawflies, etc. and bloom for a week. Discuss with your beloved.

  • don't accept business (a new client) referred to you by said potential client's ("PC") previous gardener ("PG"). It's very likely that PC hasn't let go of PG, emotionally, and will never really accept you. This makes for a doomed relationship. Sometimes, your best customer works for your competitor.

  • always carry anti-histamines with you as the severity of an allergic reaction from a yellow jacket sting is exponentially related to the distance of the nearest pharmacy.

  • you're still a "U-OH"! (an unrepentant ornamental horticulturist). You prefer big blowsy blooms, bold in-your-face foliage and deeply furrowed bark over a row of vegetables. Square foot gardening doesn't get the blood pumping for you.

  • the viburnum leaf beetle is here to stay in and around Toronto; therefore, the arrowwood viburnums (V. dentatum) in your backyard are losing their appeal, real fast.

  • Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra cultivars) should be in every garden. It's just a  matter of time.

  • you realize, once again, that you can't work in an office again full-time and that your c.v. is increasingly, if not already, useless. As an entrepreneur, you feel that this is perfectly normal and expected.

  • The overuse of Emerald cedars (Thuja occidentalis "Smaragd"), "Emerald Gaiety" euonymus and Hicks yews (Taxus x media "Hicksii") around Toronto is alarming. Several yards of retina-burning red dyed mulch added by landscape "professionals" complete the transformation.

  • Logically, plants are just plants. They're often bought and planted and, for many unexplained reasons, they also die. This is the rational view but gardeners are humans, ruled by emotion. Gardens are extremely emotion-laden places. Something to think about before making a comment about a client's ancient forsythia or bridal wreath spireaea that hasn't been pruned since, perhaps, the 1980s.

  • you've met some of the most incredibly nice, thoughtful and wise people in the world: my clients.

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment as I peer out of my living room, marvelling the front yard's silver maple currently ice laden due to the freezing rain wreaking havoc to southern Ontario.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and a Happy New Year to everyone.

May your gardens and other gardeners continue to inspire you next year.

By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog" Google Google Find us on Google+

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