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Gardener's Grapevine 2015.05.28

By JO ERBSKORN

Do you share your extras? All my life I have shared what I have and the extras. When I was a child in elementary school, I had a friend who loved molasses cookies and if I had them in my lunch box I would share. It is the same in the gardening world.

Plants, if they are happy, will make babies and where are you going to put them? My phlox and columbine will throw seeds out of their beds, so it’s time to share, as I don’t want bigger beds or more of them. And Art would not appreciate them in his lawn.

Sharing is a good thing, but so is honesty. If you share a plant, be sure to let the recipient know what it’s like and what it’s needs are. Meaning, if it’s invasive, slow growing, smells good, needs lots of room, sun, shade, etc.

Have you ever been the recipient of a plant that loves you so much it won't stop giving, no matter how much you tear it out? It makes you wonder about the person who gave it to you and what they were actually trying to say.

I love gardening, and it is an expensive, time consuming hobby. Unless you love it, you probably should not start it on any large scale. One way to drive yourself nuts is to have more garden than you have time for. I say this from experience.

Normally our gardens are exactly the correct amount for me and Art to care for. We have a large vegetable garden and lots of small gardens all around the house with flowers and decorative bushes and trees. In the last three or four years we have both gone through health issues and job changes requiring more of our time. The result was the amount of gardening we had to do was totally  overwhelming and got away from us. This spring we have managed to pull it all together and I once again realize it is just the right amount for us.

Art does most of our vegetable gardening and I do the landscaping and strawberry/onion patch. Yes, I said that correctly. We have our strawberries and onions next to each other, because they are companion plants. When I first read this I was a bit skeptical, but my "Tomatoes Love Carrots" book is always correct. This garden is knocking itself out. The strawberries are huge and the onions have sets already. I put in 25 new strawberry plants and they are already really good sized. There are a lot of young berries hanging on each plant already.

Do you ever think about garden etiquette in respect to someone telling you to go ahead pick some for yourself? If you are going to help yourself to someone else’s garden, know the plant you are harvesting from. Let's use rhubarb for an example. Rhubarb is one plant that if you harvest it all at once, you will more than likely loose your plant completely. Rhubarb likes its leaves to die off on its own. If someone is letting you harvest, you don’t want to ruin their plants. It won’t work for a re-invite into that person’s garden.

When you are visiting a garden be respectful of the other plants planted there and don’t accidentally step on them. It is also polite to offer a reciprocal visit to what is in abundance in your garden. I am very choosey about who walks in my vegetable garden. I will, however, give you a tour of the flowers if you’d like.