>Beyond the Digging

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There’s More Gardening Enjoyment than Growing

You are going to think I am either crazy or weird but I propose to you that your enjoyment of growing plants can go much deeper than the actual growing process.  Broaden your gardening experience in the following ways.

Getting to know your plants in a more intimate way can be a fascinating thing. If you have and use a computer, I am talking about keeping a real time data base on the plants you grow and study about them from reading and internet research. I can go through my collection of over 400 different plants and tell a story about each one based on not only experience growing them but information I discovered by researching them on the internet. Every time a plant is eliminated or added, the data base is adjusted accordingly. Any new plant acquired is immediately researched to learn more about it. I recommend using the botanical name for internet research for best results. Learning is FUN!

My plant data base uses MS Excel (a standard software on MS Office) which I can sort by botanical name, plant family, plant category and other self defined features. Instead of using plant labels to remember their names, I use a booklet containing this data base information. I can associate names with a plant when I can’t remember the name itself. In the case of plants such as orchids, where so many hybrids have been created over time, you can trace the plant’s ancestry and derivation using a plant data base. The information you keep is up to you. My own plant data base can be seen at the following address: www.centraltexasgardening.info/plantlist.pdf Trying to remember the botanical names and other information about a plant is a daunting task, made easy by having this resource. Also, having such an up to date list helps facilitate plant trading with others.

The satisfaction and enjoyment of knowing not only a plant name, but other information about it is hard to describe. If you know a plant is from a particular part of the world and know from that it’s natural growing environment, that alone helps you to create a similar growing environment that will help that plant thrive in your garden or greenhouse. Starting a data base may be time consuming but once done, maintaining it is so easy.

Another enjoyment to growing that is equally fascinating is photographing your garden and individual plants, from a broad garden bed perspective showing the blend of texture, color, and form to detailed close up pictures of the individual bloom details or leaf patterns. Nature begs to have it’s picture taken. This is another way of sharing your garden and growing experience with others while enhancing your personal enjoyment of the plants you grow. The camera often catches things the eye doesn’t see. SEE THE GARDEN CLOSEUPS I HAVE POSTED SEPARATELY. You can keep a photo log of your plants to go along with your plant data base.

I hope these suggestions help you to enjoy your gardening and growing experiences more than ever before. They have certainly done it for me. I have learned so much in the process, that my gardening friends think I’m an expert. Have I ever got them fooled!

You never know enough about the plants you grow or about the many plants you haven’t tried yet. Make your growing experience a learning experience as well.
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