By Susanne Holland Spicker
|'SEA POWER' Keppel 1999|
"Why do plants have such a positive impact on us? There are a number of reasons, including: They have a predictable cycle of life that provides comfort in our time of rapid change. They are responsive but nonthreatening. They form no opinions or judgments about their caregivers. They soften our man-made environment. They enable us to change or improve our environment. They provide relaxation and tranquility." ~ Gardening-Therapy for Mind, Body and Soul
|'MAGICAL' Ghio 2007|
When I started actively gardening about 20 years ago, I just wanted to grow some beautiful flowers. I had no idea the impact gardening would have on me and my life. I found that working in the soil and seeing the miracle of rebirth that takes place when the plants woke in the spring was indescribable.
|'FEATURE ATTRACTION' Kerr 1996|
So, where to begin? May I suggest that garden
journaling is the perfect place to start?
|'PARISIAN DAWN' Keppel 2006|
Keep a garden journal. A journal can be as simple as a spiral notebook. I start a new journal every year, and have a separate one just for irises. It contains planting dates, bloom times, plant performance, any insect or growing problems, the action taken to solve problems, and the outcome. Weather-related problems, with freeze or early warm up dates, and the moisture levels for that year are included. Plant information such as the hybridizer, introduction year, plant height, sun, water, and fertilization requirements etc., are kept in an iris journal in a folder on my computer, tagged with its picture. It's been interesting and helpful to compare the data from year to year.
|'EXTRAVAGANT' Hamblen 1983|
As I look back on my journals over the years, one of the most pleasurable things is to read my thoughts at that time: The anticipation of the year's first bloom in the spring, the excitement at the bloom of a new cultivar, the quiet beauty of an early morning walk through the beds after a spring rain, the amazing colors at peak iris bloom time in the gardens, the childlike wonder seeing a bud unfold, or even the debate I have with myself trying to make room for "just one more" iris! Yes, journaling has been an important and special part of my gardening.
|'VIENNA WALTZ' Keppel 2000|
|'CREATIVE STITCHERY' Schreiner 1984|
|'FLORENTINE SILK' Keppel 2005|
|'CROWNED HEADS' Keppel 1997|
I think Andi Rivarola sums it up: "Merging ourselves in the garden makes for a meaningful interior life." I know this has certainly been true for me.
If you haven't kept a garden journal, or implemented the tools mentioned, I encourage you to start now--2016 is the perfect time to begin!
|'PHOTOGENIC' Ghio 2006|