How to Garden in 39 Words


Mybadgrass_1But wait.  Now that I’m a Ranter I’m not holding back.  PEOPLE, LISTEN UP – don’t plant stuff now because it’s either going to die or you’re going to waste a helluva lot of water keeping it alive.  I see you out there with your shovels and trowels and I’m telling you to put them back in the shed and let your frustration melt into patience. (See how gardening changes more than our gardens?)  But back to my point – here’s what happened when I divided a miscanthus too late – in May.  Its obvious deadness goes to show that the same admonition goes for dividing plants, too. 

Yep, turns out this rant is for me.  BAD GARDENER!  My excuse goes something like "Oh, but I was doing so many more important things in early spring," blah, blah, blah.

[Our Photo Department’s Editorial Policy: Good Gardener photos above the fold, Bad Gardener photos below.]


  1. Up here in the North, in a normal year, we can move plants in any month of summer, because we get consistent rainfall and it doesn’t get that hot. Of course, it’s been years since we’ve had a “normal year,” but this year seems to be shaping up that way. I don’t have much experience with grasses, but I’ve read they’re a special case: divide in very early spring or forget it.

    Congratulations on a great site. The writing was always good, so I particularly want to compliment the design. Having had to do this for my own blog, I know how difficult it can be to come up with a cohesive and eye-catching design–that’s also easy to read. Did that House of Tears in the sidebar design it for you? How did you find them?

  2. Kathy, thanks for weighing in for northern gardens, and for the excuse to write about web design.
    We submitted our blog-design proposal to craigslist, elance, local web design groups and individual designers we loved and got about 25 responses – from the U.S., India (lots) and one from Costa Rica, our runner-up. House of Tears (in Kansas City) responded like they got us, and we loved their own site and portfolio, and our choice was unanimous.
    Couple of days later, HOT submitted to us basically what you see today, with only minor tweaks. Again, unanimous.
    So we love HOT and talented web designers everywhere (especially Costa Rica.)

  3. I forgot to mention: we designed the site ourselves on Typepad and hired the designer simply to create the snappy header. And in creating other sites I’ve found that a decent-looking, individualized type-on-photo header can be created and inserted easily using Typepad, so I encourage folks to go for it even when there’s no budget.

  4. Amy you have been following me as I walk about my garden.. you forgot cut a few blooms to enjoy indoors! Thanks for bringing to Angela’s attn. her mention in the Chronicle and she brought it to my attn. the mention of “my little blog” that is an expressing of my inner self!

  5. HA! It’s in the mid-90’s to low 100’s in my area, and I’m still planting. Stupid, I know, but I can’t stop. My water bill is going to be outrageous this summer. I’m afraid I’ve developed a rose addiction.

  6. Susan, my kids have learned that the way to make me do something is to tell me not to do it. Like R Sorrell, mia culpa for I have just planted in Austin.

    On Saturday evening, I pried out half a daylily, split that in two sections and planted them in the opposite border. Even more daring, the daylily is in full bloom. By the time it would be sensible to do this, I’d have stuck something else in the space, and would be decorating the Christmas tree.

    Your first 29 words were golden – especially “LOOK at your plants!”


  7. You forgot the 14-word version, which is, I regret to say, not employed nearly enough around my house:

    “Stand outside with a gin and tonic and tell the man where to plant.”

  8. First: as a male, I do not appreciated being directed where to plant.
    Second: I think you made a valiant effort in 25 words or less. Moreover, I think it a worthwhile exercise to force someone to boil a concept or process to the bare minimums. One is forced to decide what is really important.
    Third: I would remove your last sentence and replaced it with: Try and enjoy your garden rather than performing a constant mental critique.

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