‘The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity.’

— Henry Ford

 

Pick any time of the year, and it’s a good bet that each and every one of us can connect with that special place where we can renew our bond with the land, with nature, and yes, with our gardens, too, helping to center us and give us confidence, courage and comfort. It must be some elemental force that evolved along with mankind.

With all the noise and conflict that has been swirling around in our world for far too long, it is good to know that we can retreat to those special places when it all becomes overwhelming. For many of us, our gardens are an important aspect of our lives for many reasons. Of course this time of year it is customary to examine where we have been for the past 12 months and where we want to go and what we hope to accomplish in the next 12. It is also appropriate to resolve a thing or two to help us achieve those goals.

When it comes to gardens, there are a number of simple things that can be done to improve them and our community as well as our environment. With that in mind, and with a little help from the National Garden Bureau which supplied some of the following, here are gardening resolutions to consider for 2012:

• I will explore new horizons and try some of the many new varieties and new gardening techniques presented in all those beautifully informative catalogs, books and advertisements I’m seeing. Maybe I’ll try my hand at some more sustainable methods of gardening. Or try some organic products. Or buy some earthworm-produced fertilizer.

• I will “pay it forward” and share some of the wealth/excess of my garden. Possibly a local food pantry can accept fresh produce. Or my neighbors would appreciate some divisions when I divide my perennials. Or I could share my best gardening tips with neighbors.

• I will show that gardening is more than a hobby to enjoy for just a few months in the summer. I will try some cool season veggies, like super-food spinach, in the spring. I will plant some (or some more!) cool season annuals in the fall. Many products are available to assist in those efforts so why not?

• I will make time to enjoy my garden and share it with friends and family. All this beauty I’ve created should be shared with others. There’s little more relaxing than sitting in a beautiful garden sharing a nice cold herbal lemonade, made with my homegrown herbs.

• I will support the current fight against childhood obesity through gardening. Maybe I’ll volunteer to teach school children the basics of vegetable gardening. Maybe I’ll share some of my extra seeds with my relative’s children. Or, use the intriguing uniquely colored vegetables to pique the interest and tastebuds of novice young gardeners.

• I will garden smarter, not harder to help prevent those little “gardening injuries,” by using a hand truck to move heavy pots or bags of compost, wear my sunscreen to prevent skin damage and take advantage of newer ergonomic hand tools that help prevent stress-related injuries for example. I know gardening is good exercise and can burn calories and help prevent bone loss when done right.

• I will incorporate some edibles into my ornamental beds where I use organic techniques so the resulting produce will be safe as well as healthy and delicious. There are many new and old reliable vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits that can add color and texture to the ornamental garden.

• I will compost my kitchen and garden wastes to keep them out of the landfill, for healthy and free soil supplements, either with a compost pile or bin or donate it to someone who does. The Environmental Protection Agency says from 30 to 40 percent of household “trash” is actually organic matter — food scraps, cut flowers and the like. Though it may be a bit more trouble than tossing those potato peels and eggshells into the garbage, I know compost is good for gardens and making compost is good for the environment. It is one small thing I can do this year to improve both.

• I will consider reducing turf areas of my yard to only what is actually used by family, friends and pets, a move that benefits the environment and one that can reduce my mowing, weeding, edging and other grass care chores. And I will take the pledge to not use chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals and the environment on my lawn.

• I will welcome wildlife into my yard, by providing water and establishing those plants that provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. Wildlife adds a special dimension to our enjoyment of the outdoors, and now more than ever many endangered songbirds and other animals will benefit from this assistance.

What about your own garden resolutions for the New Year? Hopefully they will help you connect with the land and find that center that soothes and nourishes you. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year.

 

Lynette L. Walther is a member of the Garden Writers Association, and her newest book is “Florida Gardening on the Go.” She gardens in Camden. Got questions or comments? Join in the conversation. Visit her blog, gardeningonthego.wordpress.com or Facebook.