My Christmas Wish For Gardeners

I wonder what’s the best way to wish Merry Christmas to everyone who enjoys gardening and growing things. “Have a holly jolly Christmas!” is a greeting that at least mentions a plant, even though we can’t really grow holly here in the north country.

Maybe gardeners should have a secret handshake, or a secret phrase to acknowledge they understand one another’s plant-based compulsion. Just like in the spy movies, one gardener could approach someone and begin by saying “The rutabagas grew nicely this year.” And if the person is a gardening enthusiast they would know the secret response “Yes, but the kale had aphids.” If the second person wasn’t familiar with the pass phrase, they’d just think the gardener was being weird.

People who enjoy plants understand one another’s compassion for all things growing. Gardeners appreciate nature’s life cycles. Except when rabbits do their circle-of-life thing by killing your shrubs so you need to start new life all over again. Thumper was real cute in the Bambi movie, but he lost his luster when his relatives ate my arborvitae. And don’t even get me started on what Bambi did to my new apple tree.

I believe everyone has a green thumb, even if it’s hiding a bit. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have a green thumb. Of course you do! Approach plants with confidence. Plants are like dogs, they sense your fear. Then they growl and bare their teeth. You have to listen closely, but plants do growl. Well, maybe they just turn yellow and die, but you get the picture.

A green thumb is nothing more than giving plants what they need, and we can all do this. There are three routes to a green thumb: some people have it by instinct, some develop theirs by experience, and some through education. Often it’s a combination of all three, and most of us continue learning and experimenting our whole lives.

Yes, growing plants is a wonderful hobby and life-long pursuit. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a bountiful New Year. May your kohlrabi grow large (but not woody), and your tomatoes be forever blight-free.