In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
March, 2004
Regional Report

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1339

Like a spring tonic, witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) blooms in February in my garden, with its delicate, gently fragrant blossoms.

Gardening Makes You Strong

Spring will officially be here in a couple of weeks, and the gardening season is about to rev up. In my anticipation, I've been thinking about all that gardening can do for us.

Gardening makes you strong. Shovel a truckload of mulch. Lug sacks of potting soil, prune fruit trees in midwinter, and tote buckets of ripe tomatoes. Trundle that wheelbarrow to the compost pile.

Gardening hones fine motor skills. How many tiny weed seedlings does it take to fill a bucket?

Gardening makes you limber. You think nothing of reaching to shake down fall webworms from trees, stretching to peek in a bird's nest in the hedge row, or bending to plant a seed or smell a violet.

Gardening polishes those language skills. What's Plantanicus botanicus latinus cv. 'Whatchamacallit'?

Gardening teaches self discipline. No more screaming at the sight of a little bitty garter snake.

Gardening builds mental fortitude. Battling hungry rabbits or watching a herd of hungry deer decimate your evergreens will do that.

Gardening develops math skills. What percentage germination can I expect from these old seeds, based on the damp paper towel test batch? How many cubic yards of mulch should I order?

Gardening requires financial management skills. Have I really spent all my gift certificates? It's only February!

Gardening develops research skills. Why did my plant die?

Gardening develops time management skills. Spring comes but once a year.

Gardening teaches patience. No seed germinates before its time!

Gardening instills attention to detail. Identify thrips under a hand lens. Check your pants legs for ticks.

Gardening develops ingenuity. Quick! I need an emergency cold frame before tonight's surprise, late-spring freeze.

Gardening requires engineering skills. Can I design a deck, patio, ornamental pond, drip irrigation system?

Gardening hones your sense of smell. Does the perfume of this rose remind me of jasmine, fruit, or spice? Is that steer manure a little ripe?

Gardening hones your sense of taste. Which variety of home-grown, sun-warmed, cherry tomato tastes sweetest? Do golden ones taste metallic? Do you like the taste of squash blossoms?

Gardening hones your sense of touch. Compare a velvety leaf, a crunchy leaf, and a slick and slimy one pulled from the garden pond. How does an earthworm feel in the palm of your hand?

Gardening hones your sense of hearing. Which bird song woke me up today? Is that a panther rustling through the grass, or just a squirrel?

Gardening hones your sense of seeing. Is that a monarch or a viceroy butterfly -- or a dragonfly? Is this pink petal a bit orange or is it a bit blue? Does the symmetrical arrangement please me or would a less formal grouping work better?

Gardening teaches endurance. Busting sod is hard work. So is planting daffodils down deep by the dozen.

Gardening teaches you not to be afraid of the dark. The best time to catch slugs is at night, by moonlight.

Gardening gives you strength in so many ways.


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