Garden tips for May | May 6, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - May 6, 2011

Garden tips for May

Waxing philosophical about one's garden

by Jack McKinnon

At times I garden to grow something, other times I garden to grow myself. A gardener for many years, I have found many times when the garden simply didn't do what I had planned. Many times. I planted, fertilized, pruned, watered and even went out and talked to my plants and they still shriveled up, turned the wrong color and died.

This month I will give tips that may help you to be a little more philosophical about your garden.

1. It is spring, the flowers are blooming and all is well. Just going out into the garden is an act of gardening. It needs you to be there or it has no reason to exist. Go now.

2. Try not to think about what is wrong or right about your garden. Just look at it. This will take some of the burden off of you and the plants. Who knows, it may start things changing.

3. Now, take a step toward a tool of some kind. This step will start you in the direction of actually gardening.

4. Say to yourself three times "I am now gardening."

5. Take a break, this is hard work and if you don't acknowledge it you may get discouraged. Have a cup of tea and try to think about anything but gardening.

6. Back in the garden notice an area that needs your attention and turn your back to it. This will confuse your will to try to fix it and who knows, you may actually come up with a good alternative plan for that area.

7. Try sneaking up on a garden task. Again, it is change and change is good. Do a task in the bed next to your target bed and then slip on over and do something briefly in the target area.

8. Try teaching someone else how to garden. This is really hard — believe me, I have been doing it for 15 years now.

9. Write about it.

10. Now you are really a gardener. Some of the best gardeners I have known did exactly these things and are truly great plants people, designers and architects.

Good gardening.

Garden coach Jack McKinnon can be reached at 650-455-0687 (cell), by email at Visit his website at


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