Back to the Garden!
Hello! I’m Shannon Cagle, and while I’ve been a media producer in central Indiana since the late ‘80s, some of you may remember me from my years as the Weekend Gardener on WISH-TV. We may have spent Saturday mornings together while I picked Indiana experts’ brains about the little things that could make us all better gardeners, or at least inspire us to be. It’s time to be inspired again, and what better time for me to rejoin my fellow Boomers in gardening than March, when we can look forward to the first hopeful blooms of the year, and primroses and pansies appearing in garden centers. I always enjoy the double snowdrops and greening forsythias, the fragrant hope in those lilac buds. It’s also the time of year to talk myself off the cliff of buying too many enticing annuals – I always wind up leaving a few behind to wither in the plastic trays, and then I feel like a bad mother.
I come to a love of gardening honestly, which is to say through my Depression-era grandparents. My mother, a self-confessed child of the post-war convenience years, still can’t be bothered with gardening. But her parents made the most of every square inch of their New Albany yard, and I remember reaping the benefits. They are the reason I have a few fruit trees, sow four o’clocks, and own a lovely porch glider.
What I don’t recall from my youngest years is how all that work affected my grandparents in their fifties, sixties, and seventies. I know they loved gardening, but as I age, I am certain they didn’t love the aches and all the time consumed with maintaining a high-producing landscape. Fortunately, we live in a day when garden companies and so-called life hacks can help us streamline our landscape maintenance, and let us focus on the things we love most about our gardens – even if that’s sitting outside at sunset with a nice iced tea.
Something we’ll examine on Boomer TV will be limiting our hands-on gardening to easy-to-use containers. Manufacturers have gotten smart about mobility, even when it comes to vegetables. Not only do we have lightweight pots, we have lightweight soil to put in them, so moving isn’t such a strain. These containers can include anything from fabric grow bags to rolling tomato farms. We have growing beds on legs, so bending is reduced to the minimum strain on tired backs. Ergonomic tools are becoming more refined so that our hands and arms don’t have to work as hard. Even the plants themselves can be chosen by their ease of maintenance (although I will always plant a few four o’clocks).
If you have gardening questions or suggestions, please feel free to share them – what seems like a good idea to you is probably going to be a good idea for all of us. I’ve spent a fair chunk of my life enjoying CSNY’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” and now seems as good a time as any to say it: Friends, it’s time to get ourselves back to the garden.
By Shannon Cagle Freelance Writer