For the first time in my life, this year, I realize there is not enough time.
Not enough time to grow everything I want to grow.
Not enough time to garden. If I’m lucky, healthwise, I’ll live and garden into my 80s, but that’s only twenty years away. There’s also a strange phenomenon that as you grow older, time moves faster, so twenty years to a thirty-year-old is completely different than to a 60-year-old.
I turn 61 in September.
Not enough time to fix everything that is broken.
After the wildfire in March, I spent a lot of my garden time simply trying to fix what was broken and burned. Fortunately, it happened early enough that the perennials in the gardens were barely up.
‘Millenium’ alliums, for example, had burned tips, but they grew out of it.
Unfortunately, I lost two Japanese maples and some shrubs, and a lot of things had to be cut back to the ground, like the ‘Carefree Beauty’ rose bush I started from a cutting years ago, along with my spicebush. The good news is they have returned with vigor. I’m still working on my ‘Peggy Martin’ rose, devastated by the ice storm of 2020 and last winter’s extremely cold winter. Peggy doesn’t love the cold.
Neither do I.
Our drip irrigation burned up in many places throughout the garden because embers fell on it, but we replaced it and also got some help fixing it. We also had insurance, a really good policy we’d paid on for years, so we were able to replace a bunch of fencing.
I spent a lot of spring doing garden triage.
I think I was in shock for much of spring, although I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
You see, I feel like a steward of my 7.5 acres, and some of it is really ugly right now, like the burned-up trees across the street. I know it will grow back, but I also know we’re going to have to bulldoze those trees. They are a silent reminder of the fear and chaos of that day.
I’m not whining, either. I realize how fortunate we are.
We didn’t lose our home, but our neighborhood is so quiet now. About half the people who once lived here still do. Many are now in travel trailers and mobile homes because that’s what they can afford. My once-established neighborhood feels transient, much like time.
Not enough time for hot weather, but time for Growing Floret.
It was hot this week, so I had time to watch season two of Growing Floret on Discovery Plus. You can also watch it on Magnolia and Max. The theme of season two is all about legacy.
A rabbit hole about not enough time.
It was a true rabbit hole for me. I bet I’m one of the few who binged the entire season in two afternoons. Although Erin Benzakein and her husband Chris are in their 40s, they feel the clock ticking too, and Erin is making plans for many things to keep her farm going while sharing knowledge with others.
I found myself tearing up at the first episode, where she took on her friend Anne Belovich’s rambling roses. Erin wrote about her rose experience in parts I, visiting Anne’s home and taking cuttings; II, propagating old roses; III, specialty rose nurseries in the U.S.; and IV, an interview with Anne Belovich, on the Floret blog. It’s worth wading through.
And, if you think you don’t have enough time to learn to garden, note that Anne Belovich didn’t come to roses until she was 60. In her 90s, she wrote six books, five of which were about roses.
By the way, I grow a lot of my roses on their own roots, which is why I was able to save ‘Carefree Beauty’ by cutting her to the ground. ‘Carefree Beauty’ is not an old garden rose. She was hybridized by Dr. Griffith Buck and introduced in 1977. She is also known by the found name, ‘Katy Road Pink,’ and she’s been in my garden for 35 years.
In the deepest part of my soul, I understood the urgency of saving Anne’s roses and getting them out into commerce. In the same episode, Erin then met Gregg Lowery, who has championed old roses for years through his nursery and then nonprofit, The Friends of Vintage Roses. Lowery is in his 70s.
People are growing older. Pollinators are endangered. So are birds. Some plants and seeds are also in danger of disappearing. Gardening and flower farming are always tenuous too.
There’s never enough time. I feel a sense of urgency to share what I know about gardening more than ever.
That’s why I do so many different things, from making videos on Instagram–even though I wish I were thinner, younger, prettier—, to garden coaching to speaking, to writing, to co-hosting a garden podcast, to answering questions at our open garden once or twice in spring and fall, etc., etc.
I don’t give a fig about being an Instagram influencer.
I work with brands I like and trust, so I can continue this blog and the podcast. It costs money for hosting and the platforms to make good content, especially if your blog is 17 years old and full of photos. The back end of blogging isn’t as simple as it once was either, so I need help to keep it healthy.
I know I reach people on Instagram because they send me questions and comments, and I try my best to answer every single one. When I don’t know the answer I say that too.
I see your joy, sorrow, and frustration. Growing living things takes time and worthy effort.
Because you’re dealing with living plants and seeds, there is always the possibility, nay probability, of failure. Right now, my tomatoes have been through the wringer this spring. They’ve had blossom end rot from all of the rain we’ve had. So. Much. Rain. Today it was suddenly 100 degrees, and all of the blossoms dried up on the stems. Because I’ve gardened forever, I still had a good harvest, but everything in the garden is feeling the heat, including me.
However, this morning dawned orchid pink, and while I still feel there is never enough time, I will keep doing what I do. I want to help you have the garden of your dreams, whatever that may be.
If I can help, please let me know.