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Some Hard Truths About Gardening In Connecticut

A tongue-in-cheek look at the trials and tribulations of growing anything here

If you’ve been gardening in Connecticut long enough, you’ve probably learned a few hard truths along the way. You know, those lessons we seem to have to re-learn every season.

Gardeners are optimists at heart, but sometimes it helps to acknowledge we really have very little control over what happens in our gardens. Here are a few truisms about Connecticut gardening that I’ve learned over the past few decades that might save you some headaches and a few heartaches.

Mother Nature has a strange sense of humor. And she likes to remind us of that fact at least a few times each year. Don’t take it personally.

If you’re not killing a few plants each year, you’re doing something wrong. Sometimes we’re to blame and sometimes Mother Nature hastens the decline. But either way, those deaths will teach you how to be a better gardener.

Grass really does grow better in your flowerbeds than it does in your lawn.

Never take a cut of mint from a well-meaning neighbor. And while you’re at it, beware of plants, especially ground covers like mint, that are labeled ‘vigorous’. They are the bullies of your garden, quickly outcompeting nearby plants.

‘Free-seeding’ is gardening code for ‘you’ll be spending tons of time on your hands and knees next spring pulling out unwanted seedlings’.

When it comes to , if the deer don’t eat them, the rabbits probably will. And if the rabbits don’t like them, they are probably candy for groundhogs. Or voles.

Remember, deer don’t read the as we do. They don’t know which plants are supposed to be ‘deer-resistant’ and which ones aren’t.

There’s always one more rock or one more root to remove in order to have the ’perfect’ planting hole.

However improbable it might seem, you do control the the rest of the state receives. When the weatherman calls for 2 inches of rain and you decide NOT to water your garden, you’re prolonging the dry spell for the rest of us. But if you drag out the hoses and water your garden, the skies will open up and it will rain and rain and rain.

Imagine it’s mid-autumn and you have a bunch of daffodils bulbs that still need to be planted. Don’t wait until next weekend to get them in the ground. Chances are it will snow and your window of opportunity will slam shut. On the other hand, if you do plant them now, then the ground probably won’t freeze until January, so you really could have procrastinated a little bit longer.

Speaking of bulbs, what you’ve suspected all along is true…the squirrels and chipmunks are watching exactly where you plant those bulbs so they can dig them up a few hours later.

Note:  The inspiration for this article comes from the editor’s letter, written by Steve Aitken, in the October 2009 edition of Fine Gardening magazine.

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