Planting spring flowers in the garden

Planting spring flowers in sunny garden

It’s often said that a green thumb is a dirty thumb. The best way to learn to garden is simply to start doing it, with a sharp eye out for the way plants grow successfully in the wild. Certain rules apply, and whether these are unchanging natural laws, and part of a grand plan, nobody knows. But there are enough observable patterns of cause and effect, that if you jump onto Nature’s merry-go-round at the right speed you are guaranteed a good ride.

That speed is slow. You are not hopping a fast freight. Think about how long it takes for a hillside to reforest itself after a landslide, or for fallen leaves in the woods to break down into rich organic soil. Yes, you can take poor land and improve it, but there are no short cuts. Compost, that magic concoction of decomposed organic matter that makes it all work, needs at least six months to break down, but a year is better, and only after five years or more of incorporating it into your garden will your soil really be “in good heart,” as the old-timers used to say. Running for a bag of synthetic fertilizer will only set you backward, since it does not sustain the life of the soil and does nothing to improve its structure. Keep the future in mind, more than the present.

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