Master Gardeners: ‘Accepting what is’ |

Master Gardeners: ‘Accepting what is’

Nan Porter
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today
A look at Nan Porter's colorful garden.

I have written garden articles for the paper as one of my ways to fulfill my hours for the Master Gardener organization, and my garden mantra has been modified dramatically over the years since I have been writing. When I first envisioned my garden, it would have flowers that would bloom all summer and at different heights. Butterflies and bees would be buzzing in and out of flowers.

I bought lots of flowers from many different nurseries, consulted nursery owners and workers and really thought I had done my homework for my vision. As I mention in past articles, it used to rain every afternoon, so my garden grew and grew. Then one day, the rains stopped about 10-ish years ago.

My vision of a quaint English garden was never realized due to the plants not adapting and the rain not falling. (We have a well, and there wasn’t enough water for garden and family.) I also bought a horse and wanted to ride instead of picking weeds and watering for hours.

Of course, I still “wanted a beautiful garden.” I am just not willing to put in the time to make it happen. Now, after 20-plus years of looking out at my garden, I have a new mantra, “Accept what is,” and this year, I had a wonderful, colorful garden.

Accepting what is includes filling in a lot of the garden with big pieces of flagstone, river rocks with four to five thicknesses of highest grade weed barrier under the flagstone. If there is not weed barrier under the flagstone, it disappears under the weeds. Choosing plants I see around town that really grow at altitude. Exchanging plants with friends. This technique is the best for many reasons. The plants are from this area, and it is wonderful to walk through the garden and think about the people who shared their plants with you.

Accepting what flowering plants are native and just show up in your garden. Just make sure they are not white top and other noxious weeds. (Please check with Greg Brown and his office at the county building. He is a wonderful resource.)

Accepting there will be weeds, and if you have other interests besides a wonderful garden, you, too, can accept a weed that is green and blends in with the gestalt of your garden.

The last thing to accept is the weather.

When it snowed a lot on June 21, I was really depressed, but this year, I had a beautiful garden through August, which is a month longer than usual. The garden is fading and going to seed, but it was a wonderful summer with lots of colors. I love gardening when I don’t spend every day weeding for hours. Oh, I still do water every other day if it doesn’t rain. 

Accepting what is allows me to enjoy the garden that I have.

Nan Porter, Master Gardener Class of 2017, gardens on a well at 7,100 feet. She is a gardener, barrel racer and photographer at Nan Porter Photography.

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