The Plant Man column
for publication week of 12/26/04 - 01/01/05
The Plant Man
by Steve Jones
Gardener's "resolutions:" Here are five you CAN keep
The New Year is upon us! With all that pre-Holiday hustle and bustle
finally behind us and spring not yet on the horizon, it's a good time for
all of us gardeners and landscapers to draw up our annual list of New Year's
No, not the ones about low-carb diets and going to the gym and learning
another language. All highly admirable. But I'm referring to some specific
garden-goals you can set yourself.
I'm guessing there is at least one project you've been promising you'll take
care of when you get around to it.. So here is where we'll begin...
Resolution # 1: A Round Tuit
You said you'd do it when you got around to it, so I am hereby giving you a
Round Tuit. Now you have no more excuses! Whatever it was... re-staining
that fence, pulling out those overgrown brambles, replacing the rickety
trellis that's barely holding your Purple Wintercreeper vine... Resolve to
really DO IT this year! Set yourself a "complete by" date and stick to it.
Resolution # 2: Plant a tree
The world can always benefit from another tree. Take a look out of your
window and visualize a new tree gracing your landscape. What's your choice?
A leafy shade tree such as a Red Maple, a Tulip Poplar or a Chinese Chestnut
are good suggestions. Or maybe you prefer an evergreen such as the
fast-growing Cedar Green Giant or the Colorado Blue Spruce. How about a nut
tree? Think about the elegant Black Walnut or the Chinese Chestnut that
will produce delicious nuts for future Holiday recipes!
Resolution # 3: Get involved!
Lend your green thumb (with you still attached of course) to a landscape
project somewhere in your area. There are groups of concerned citizens in
urban, suburban and rural locations throughout America who "adopt" a
blighted area and give it a facelift. Often, it involves little more than
clearing away overgrown weeds and dumped garbage. Sometimes the plan calls
for planting shrubs and trees to create a pleasant "green space." If you
don't know of such a group, a good place to start might be at your local
newspaper. Editors usually have their fingers on the pulse of the community
and might be able to point you in the right direction.
Resolution # 4: Involve the kids
Can you remember who it was who first aroused your interest in plants and
how things grow? Now's your chance to "pass it on" to your own children or
grandchildren. Remember, it has to be fun and not a chore, so kids need to
be doing more than simply weeding or raking leaves! Here's an idea: set
aside an area in your landscape and give it to your child for his or her
very own garden. With your guidance and mentoring, they can choose what to
plant and learn how to care for their own flowers, shrubs and trees as they
grow. I guarantee that many years from now, they'll return to "their"
garden and say, "I grew that!"
Resolution # 5: Contact The Plant Man!
That's right: involve me in your projects. Send me an e-mail and tell me
about your successes, pass on hints and tips for fellow readers or ask my
advice about a problem your having with your landscape. I can usually
respond personally within a day or two, and many of the comments and
questions I receive are also published in this column.
No doubt you can add a few resolutions of your own. But the trick is to
decide on just one or two and simply resolve to follow through and actually
achieve them by this time next year. And now I guess I'd better get started
on my own list of resolutions...!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and
landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org and for resources and additional
information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit