Growing up with a gardening parent, I recognize my good fortune. My childhood was spent soaking in Dad’s knowledge of the natural world, although at the time I looked at it as “work.” Thankfully, by the time I started my own family, that changed. The hours spent doing gardening chores as a kid paid out even before we saved up to buy our 1st house. My dorm window was filled with ivies and aloe veras, items Dad deemed as necessary as a good reading lamp. My apartment balconies (and there were several) were dotted with small pots of color and crop and greenery. Every corner inside that boasted even a tiny sliver of sunshine hosted a variegated airplane plant. Every corner that sat in darkness gained a mother-in-law’s tongue. And when my daughters left for college, I made sure they not only had underwear, but also their ivies and aloe veras. Hopefully, they now believe themselves lucky for having grown up with gardening parents.
With a generation now nesting raised with blow ‘n go, hire it done lawns, many find themselves horticulturally ignorant when striking out on their own, no experience to call on when the desire comes to build an Eden for themselves. (My belief is that we are ALL built to be gardeners, designed with an Eden-sized hole in our psyche. More and more, scientific data is backing up that theory.) And although I lap up a treatise on gardening like a thirsty dog, I realize my propensity for a nightstand stacked with landscaping literature is not necessarily a normal thing. Especially for NEW gardeners, bite sized rather than force feeding the whole apple at once makes it easier to manage without choking. So anyone looking for a few morsels to help them get started, this is your table! Each entry of GardenDishes will serve a HIT and a MYTH: a plant or suggestion that, as a professional landscape designer I’ve found tasty, and a landscaping lie that we’ll toss into the compost heap for good. If YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TIP OR GARDENING QUESTION, please send it to me along with a photo. If I don’t know the answer, I know someone who does. My daddy is still just a phone call away.