Wild About Texas – December, 2009
Wendy Redding demonstrates how stretching with counter poses to the usual bent posture can help the gardener take care of a much-used body! All photos by the author unless otherwise noted.
Promises, promises! How did you fare on your list from 2009? I aced a few vows this year, but many need to be slapped back on the list for next. Of course, there are a number of tasks that require on-going commitment, such as these oaths from Wildflower Center staff gardener Wendy Redding:
The author with wide-brimmed hat (and suncreen). Photo by Phillip Hawkins.
Journal photo of Botanist Bed after planting
Record of Botanist Bed after one year
Maintenance of favorite clippers
Sunscreen: “I will always apply and appropriately reapply every day.” Many of us are good about wearing it in the morning, but if you are like me, it’s easy to forget or get lazy about reapplying later in the day. My dermatologist recommends putting on fresh sunscreen, SPF 30-40 (UVA and UVB protection), every four hours during outdoor activity.
Kindness to body: “I will stretch with counter poses to my gardening postures.” This helps keep the body limber and balanced. If you’ve been stooped over for a while, try rolling your shoulders back and tilting your head gently to get a good counter stretch.
Record keeping: “I will take pictures of my garden and keep a log throughout the year to track plant growth and seasonal changes.” It can be so gratifying and motivating to see how much tiny plants fill in over time. It can also help with remembering how long plants have been in the ground (if the photos are dated). Looking through my journal, I found an image of a bed I was thinking about replanting with pigeonberry. The photo reminded me that I had already unsuccessfully tried that plant years ago in that area, so I decided to try something else.
New plants: “Every month I will learn a new native plant species, its habits, growing requirements, and scientific name.” What a great way to keep your plant options fresh! Visiting new gardens or taking a hike in a local natural area to meet new botanical friends is always rewarding. And don’t forget the camera and notepad!
Pruners: “I will take better care of my pruners. I will oil and sharpen them regularly.” Gardening tools can be expensive to replace, and once you find a style that works for you, it can sometimes be hard to find the same thing again. Proper maintenance reduces the number of broken tools needing to be recycled or sent to the landfill.
And then there is another staff horticulturist who will remain unnamed who confesses: “My resolution would also be to keep my pruners (and all my tools) cleaned and sharpened. It ain’t gonna happen, but it is a good one!”
Several gardens volunteers resolve to keep at least one step ahead of their raging weed patches, and another vows to “wear my big hat every time I go outside.”
As for me, my biggest promise to myself this year is to slow down and smell the (prim)roses. They are delicate but sweet. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work still needing to be done, but gardens are created to be enjoyed.
Reducing maintenance as much as possible is another goal for which to strive. In reference to gardening, the Center’s Dr. Damon Waitt resolves to just “do less of it.”
For more information about Texas native plants, including great photos in our image gallery, visit the Wildflower Center’s website at: www.wildflower.org.
About the author: Andrea DeLong-Amaya is the director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.