“Resolve, and thou art free“ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Here are a few resolutions, realistic or otherwise, that I think gardeners might be able to relate to.

I will not still be buying bulbs after New Years just because they were "on clearance".

I will not impulsively buy pretty flowers that I know won't grow here.

I will weed regularly. I will start keeping a garden journal.

I will stop putting down a tool, wander off, then go, "hmm, where is that?"

I will lavish my hands with hand cream before starting my garden day.

I will not fall in love with any more classes/orders/families/genera of plants.

I will maintain a complimentary color scheme in my garden.

I will NOT deadhead other peoples' plants! I will stop weeding in public places.


I will actually throw a plant away.

I will stop "rescuing" clearance plants from garden centers because I feel sorry for them.

I will never again buy a new flower/tree/shrub until I have a place for it in the garden.

I will limit the number of pairs of muddy sneakers outside my kitchen door to 5 or 6.

I will never kill another spider. I will never talk to my favorite plants again.

I will not assume that everyone I meet socially wishes to discuss gardening and to hear the names of every plant in my garden.

I will not stay up till midnight in the backyard with a headlamp strapped to my forehead!

I will remember that I am NOT in competition with the neighbor.

I will clean out my trunk (it kinda looks like a garden, too)

I really will sharpen my garden tools.

I will stop rationalizing my plant habit as being better than gambling, smoking, drugs or alcohol.

I will wear sunscreen.

I will not read gardening columns, like this one, while I'm at work.

I will pay more attention to the sizes that plants grow.

I will never buy another plant with the description 'slightly spreading habit'!

I will NOT discuss moving the garage five feet to make room for garden.

I will stop telling my spouse I'm going into the garden for just a minute or two.

I will revisit the idea of meal times at the table.

I will sit in my garden from time to time and enjoy it.

Ok – I think I’m ready for 2009 . . . yea . . . I’m ready!

Questions from Readers January 3

Question: I want to have my pruning shears properly and professionally sharpened before I begin my rose and fruit tree pruning chores. Is there someplace you recommend?

Tina, Balboa Island

Tina, that’s a great question and very timely too. A good sharp pair of pruning shears is as essential to a gardener as is a good sharp set of knives to a cook. Sharpening pruning shears is an art. It is not at all like sharpening scissors or knives however. I know of many very high quality pairs of shears that were nearly ruined by being sharpened incorrectly or by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. High quality nurseries, including Roger’s Gardens, offer a professional shear sharpening service. It’s worth every penny.

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar and his profile can be seen at

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