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Kip Anderson
Gardener Kip Anderson

July: A Worthy Enterprise

Kip writes about the hard work that leads to the success of a garden project
by Kip Anderson

Do it yourself. The time spent explaining what it is that needs to be done — due in part to the fact that words to the wise are untranslatable unless there is a similar reservoir of experience shared between the speaker and the listener — is better spent just doing it. Yes, we all would like some good help, but good help is hard to come by, and time marches on.

Gardening isn't easy, nor should it seem to be, unless you're satisfied by the mere attempt, oblivious to result, and willing to slide into the nether-land of mediocrity. It's better to go down screaming at the difficulties Nature presents than to wax dreamy over marginal successes achieved without the slightest bit of pain.

I'm having a bit of fun here, but I'm not kidding. Gardening isn't the idyllic pastime it's sometimes made out to be (We've all seen the photographs in glossy magazines of perfect landscapes that give no hint of the extraordinary effort behind them.), but it's as worthy an enterprise as you will find on this planet of ours.

The point is this: Without a bit of dirt
To grace the seam beneath the fingernail,
There's little meaning in the awful hurt
That comes from having seen endeavors fail.

If you keep at it and follow the canon of sound horticultural practice, nine times out of 10 your garden projects will succeed, but that will only make the unsuccessful 10 percent seem all the more lamentable. If gardening were too easy, then it wouldn't be very interesting, would it?

Kip Anderson has been the Victory Garden's head gardener for over 20 years.

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Published August 31, 2007