Monday, November 8, 2010

Plant Everywhere

A person must plant everywhere and then concentrate on what grows. --Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz, The Alter of Novardok Zt'l

This is the "quote of the day" that came to my email a few days ago. I am pretty sure that it is not meant to be taken literally, but that is exactly where my brain went. It seems like pretty good advice.

There are people who do exactly that, sow food plants everywhere and tend what grows; the practice is generally referred to as guerilla gardening. I haven't taken to planting food in disused public spaces (yet), but here in my own yard, sometimes it seems as if I have planted everywhere. Then Joe points out that he still has little patches of lawn to mow, so I know I haven't quite done it.

The "concentrate on what grows" part is especially useful. So often, I try certain varieties over and over again because someone (usually in another part of the country) has raved about it, and the plants fail again and again. And usually, there are perfectly wonderful varieties that DO grow here just fine, but not always. Some whole categories of plants are never going to do well in the hot, humid Southeastern US (currants). Some will only do well with excessive pampering (celery).

There is a yearning, probably basic to the human psyche, for more/bigger/better or just plain different. Gardeners are not immune, and the people who write plant descriptions for seed catalogs know it. They know we will try almost anything, even though a lot of what we have is really great. The good news is that we can learn from what happens. This relates to the use of the word "concentrate" rather than a word like "tend." It implies thinking. After planting all kinds of plants all over the yard, we can come closer to choosing the best plants for our own yards the next year.

So, here at the close of the summer growing season, I am busy concentrating on what grew.


  1. Your writing is so lovely . . . and today your words so poignant . . . what I like most about blogging . . . peace

  2. Ruralrose,

    Thank you. It always amazes me how much thinking goes into successful gardens. It all looks like just a lot of manual labor, but underneath that is a wealth of thought, remembering, and care.


  3. Thought, remembering and care, yep this is how you tend a garden. The relationship with a plant is like with a friend, you learn what they like and what they don't and just how much bullshit they can take (lol, just kidding). You really do have a way with words, is that your profession? Peace
    ps just went over your profile you are a writer, must be nice to have an intellectual pursuit to balance gardening submission

  4. Well, editing is my current profession. In my Life Before Kids, I worked in first a freshwater and then a marine research lab identifying and counting phytoplankton and doing nutrient analysis of water samples. I went back to college in my mid-30s and then taught freshman English at a local college for quite a few years. This job is relatively recent, but I love it. I have been very lucky to have had such a varied and interesting life.


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