Monday, January 12, 2015

When Humans Plan, Heaven Laughs!

Yes, it's snowing again. They are calling for another 5 inches. In years past, this would be starting to get on my nerves by now. However, this year is different for two reasons: First, I am not experiencing this very snowy winter in a third floor apartment with a view of the brick buildings next door. I am looking out of the window in my new home at the vastness and beauty of snowy slopes, valleys and trees decorated like powdered sugar on cookies. Second, underneath all of this snow, for the first time in 15 years, are the bones for my new garden!

While other non-gardening folks are going into that post-holiday funk, gardeners are pouring over seed catalogs and drawing up diagrams and graphs of how they want their gardens to look come spring. In the old days of my gardening life, I would have done the same. This year, however, I going about it a little differently. My reasons come from years of experience and the hard worn knowledge that when humans plan, heaven laughs.

Even the most skillful gardeners who have been gardening in the same place for years will tell you that there is no way to anticipate everything that Mother Nature can, and may, throw at you. So the garden bed of tomatoes that have done so well in that spot for the last 3 years may do very poorly in year 4. Or, the roses that were so spectacular last year, may languish this year.  Anyone who tells you that their garden is always 100% abundant and problem free is probably pulling your leg (or living in their own little world).

Since this will be my first year gardening in this place, I have to give myself time to become accustomed to how and where the sun rises and sets, how much sunlight my garden will get - which can change from spring, to summer and through the fall - how much rainfall I might expect, and what will do well in an area where I will be doing most of my planting on a slope which I have never done before. So while I can certainly make some preliminary plans and educated guesses, the truth is that I just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for me and adjust as I go along.

As you might have guessed if you have been following my posts in the past, you know that there is a life lesson here as well as a gardening lesson. By now, in mid-January, we may have already fallen off our New Year's Resolution wagon, or at the very least are questioning our sanity at having made them. The truth is that while we can have a overall idea of how we want to live our lives in 2015, and what changes we'd like to make to improve how we experience the world,  we can't always be 100% positive that things will work out according to plan. There is no way to anticipate the unexpected: an illness, a divorce, a death, a job loss, or, even the good stuff like a raise, a promotion, finally meeting your soul mate, and so on. The point is that we need to leave room to be flexible so that instead of being knocked over when the unexpected happens, we  can make some adjustments and re-think our goals. That way 2015 is certain to be a year with less stress and a lot more happiness.

As for my garden, I think that I will start out by putting things in pots and then moving the pots around until I have a better sense of what does well in each spot. That way there will be less dying back and more growing, and really, isn't that a better plan for living anyway?

And so it is.