In the Garden | Embrace the successes — and failures — of gardening in 2019

Eron Drew

Happy New Year! It’s the annual reminder that another cycle around the sun has come and gone. We are once again given the opportunity to reflect on the decisions we have made over the last 365 days and to decide how we want to proceed moving forward.

Looking back, 2018 was definitely a transitional year for me. For the first time in a long time, gardening was not the center of my universe.

After much internal reflection, I took a big step away from growing things in order to pursue some of my other passions. Even after making this fairly momentous decision, I was still able to expand upon my ever-expanding herb, flower and fruit garden at home. I just didn’t expand as much as I thought I might.

I realized that in some years it is OK to have a smaller to-do list. Sometimes it is all right to simply sit back and maintain what you have already created rather than to stress out about creating something new.

Did I fail at anything this season? Yes and always, would be my standard reply to this question. Did I get my fence put up to keep the turkeys out of my fruit like I thought I would? No. Will it all be OK until next year? Yes. Should I feel bad about it? I don’t plan to spend much time dwelling on that question. I will simply try and fit this project in sometime in 2019.

Did I succeed at anything this season? Again, the answer would be the same as above — yes and always. Did I keep my garden from becoming a weedy disaster even after starting a full-time off-the farm job? Yes. Did I get all of my fruit properly pruned so that next year will be even more productive than this year? Again, the answer is yes. Did I have fresh flowers and herbs to cut every week of the season? Yes.

These small feats in and of themselves feel like a great big success even if nothing else was really accomplished.

Will I do things differently next year? Yes and always. Will our family continuously work on finding our ever-shifting balance between all of our passions? Yes. Will gardening still be close to the top of that list? Yes. Will it be the only item on that list? Definitely not. Will I skip out on weeding once in a while to go hiking with my kids? Probably. Will I still try and find a way to sneak in one or two more plants that I have never grown before? Definitely.

Will I make myself an unachievable to-do list but be happy if only half of it gets done? Well, sure, because that’s life; you aim high and hope for the best. And if at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again.

Whatever ambitions you have set out for yourself this year, I hope you experienced more successes than failures. And if the opposite is true, remember there’s always 2019 to try again. Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!


A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Eron Drew is one of four columnists featured.