Looking back, looking ahead

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January, as I have learned by looking in the American Heritage Dictionary, is the month of the ancient Roman god Janus, who is depicted as looking in opposite directions. While not exactly a relevant analogy, it is no surprise, therefore, that each January, we try to look ahead by making resolutions, but we look back, as well, so as to continue good work and not repeat earlier mistakes.

Making resolutions, however, seems at times like a customary act, regardless of one’s preference, and a fair number of us have trouble keeping them anyway. Therefore, to come out of the box, I have compiled some random thoughts, mostly gardening-related, that have come to my mind; I hope to execute them in the coming year. Though a few sound trivial or redundant, they are, nonetheless, worth mentioning:

  • To beat the winter blues, take time to step in the yard on one of those warm, sunny days. Explore bare spots and make tentative plans to plant some new varieties or cultivars rather than the usual fare. To avoid impulse buying, study first the microclimate of the location; also, look for native plants or ones that are suitable for our area.
  • Make an attempt not to be a perfectionist, especially when it comes to weeds; try to think of weeding as a reason to be outdoors, a much-needed physical activity. Speaking of physical activity, it helps to remember one’s own limits and not overdo it, which is a lesson I learnt the painful way after sustaining an injury to one of my knees sometime back. More often than not, we tend to forget that our bones and muscles are not getting any younger.
  • If, in spite of your best efforts, a plant dies, try not to dwell on it. Among other factors, vigilance for pests and diseases definitely helps avoid unnecessary heartaches over such losses.
  • Grow at least one annual, perennial or bulb this spring that will be a newcomer to the garden to keep the interest of gardening alive. Browsing through gardening catalogs that have now begun to come in the mail are a great winter pastime.
  • Invite fellow gardeners for tea and cookies and to share new tips and tricks picked during the course of time. What better way to learn than by interacting with those who have a similar interest.
  • Last of all, instead of becoming task-driven, find time to relax in the garden; watch the sun rise, catch the spring buds unfold and see the leaves change colors when fall arrives.

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