By Margueritte Licchiello WW — Guest Blogger
In my last blog, I promised to divulge the back story behind my gardening adventures.
It all began many years ago when I planted a minute garden in my yard and discovered, to my horror, that I killed anything I tried to cultivate. I over- or under-watered, or fed them too much or too little. I decided to take some courses following an Independence Day party at my home. During the festivities my uncle, an avid gardener with a neon green thumb, a riding mower and a few acres in the New Jersey countryside, exclaimed loudly, “That’s a fine collection of ragweed you got there in your window boxes.”
I had planted seeds and thought they were growing; instead, I was watering weeds. I was mortified. I ended up registering for classes at the NY Botanical Gardens University in the Bronx.
I learned many things in those classes, much of which I still use. The most important thing our instructor, Ralph Snodsmith, taught us was — plan and prepare. I learned that the plant you purchase hardly matters if the soil you place it in is not prepared for that specific plant. He described this bit of information as the most important gardening tip of all.
Snodsmith, who died in 2010, was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He absolutely loved gardening in a way I cannot comprehend. His enthusiasm was infectious; he made me feel like I could garden–so I have. Thank you, Ralph, from all of your fans and fellow gardeners.
But I digress. When I originally moved to Pleasant Valley from Yonkers, I purchased a quaint, run-down, 200-year-old house on two acres. Looking out through the bay windows at the overwhelming expanse of messiness, I again felt the need for education.
I took refresher classes at the Cary Institute for Ecostudies. This time the subject matter was soil, insects and other equally interesting and disgusting things. It did help; I only lost one plant out of many. In the first three months, the new plantings required watering for two hours a day. Did I mention that these plants were spread out over an acre of land?
This job included some hose watering but mostly moving oscillators because I couldn’t afford sprinklers. I despised every moment of it. However, everything turned out great. I loved it, and the neighbors raved about the results. That is precisely my point: Although I did not enjoy any of the planting or the work, I loved the results. I have always been results-oriented. I work for the payoff. It is who and what I am.
Well, the lessons learned from my experiences are the same for gardening as anything else in life:
- If you want to learn something new, first choose a good method, teacher or role model.
- You can start simple and make it big if you stick to it and do it right.
- Whether or not you enjoy something, you can excel at it and reap the benefits.
- Hard work is worth the effort and does not go unnoticed.
- Small changes can be the beginning of huge or infinite results.
- Having a variety of experiences and sitting on a patio ledge with your laptop may “cultivate” into an interesting story.
Happy Gardening!! Happy Life!
Margueritte Licchiello WW is a writer, real estate professional, property manager and broker. You can reach her at [email protected]