Plant by plant

Gardening is purported to be one of the best stress relievers — and it is! — but the weeks we spend planting the Blithewold gardens always make me feel a little panicky; my blood pressure rises as the to-do list lengthens. We have so many plants to get in the ground, so many more to get out of the green house and place in gardens, so many weeds to stay ahead of, so much mulch to spread, and if Mother Nature insists on giving us desiccating wind instead of gentle showers, there’s a lot of watering to do too.

Suffice to say, the past couple of weeks at Blithewold have been fast paced, intensely busy ones. We forked out hundreds of tulips and planted about 1700 plants in the North, Rose, and Herb Gardens, and transplanted most of the pollinator bed perennials into their new location in the meadow below the Vegetable Garden. And we still have a ways to go. Hundreds of Cutting Garden plants are placed and ready for planting after which we’ll start replanting the newly vacant old pollinator bed. (It will need a new name…) We always aim to have the planting completed by the July 4th holiday. That’s when the heat typically hits if it hasn’t already (it hasn’t yet, though until this week it has been dry as a bone) and come July our amazing volunteers, without whom our gardens would never get planted, weeded, watered, begin to peel off for summer vacations.


Every year during “planting week” I have to remind myself to breathe and laugh. I always forget that the trick to maintaining any kind of equilibrium, keeping up the momentum, and enjoying the process is to take it one step, one plant at a time. Last week one of the volunteers compared finding all the plants we placed in the Rose Garden to an Easter egg hunt, which made me wish we had thought to hide chocolates under some of them… (The image at the top of this post is of the Florabundas planting 634 new plants in the Rose Garden.)

I’ll say it again because it bears repeating — often: we could not do what we do here in the gardens without the volunteers. We are incredibly lucky to have so many loyal, enthusiastic, strong, funny, savvy gardeners on our crew. Big, big thanks to all!

Do you feel a stressful pressure to get new plants into the ground this time of year too? How do you keep calm and plant on? (Does chocolate help?)

Since writing the above last Tuesday (and the post being lost for a few days…) we and the volunteers planted about 1500 more plants in the Cutting Garden, Rock Garden, and un-named new big bed!