I grew up on a farm. We didn’t have a cabin or a lake to travel to, so May long weekend plans always involved putting in the huge garden that fed our family of six. And even though the years of hilling potatoes, shelling peas, and weeding out the carrots gave me plenty of practice at it, it did not give me a passion for it.
I’ll do it, but I don’t really like it.
The same is true for the rest of the yard too. I mainly grow perennials, as they are pretty low maintenance and they just magically pop out of the ground every year! Voila! Hello, lilies! I buy a couple of flower planters to put in some pots out front, and that’s about it. Low maintenance.
Except if you garden at all, you know that low-maintenance doesn’t mean no-maintenance.
So here are a couple of gardening tasks I did today and what it made me think about…because there’s nothing to do but think when you start pulling quack grass out of EVERYWHERE!!!
1. Let’s start with that. Quack grass. I don’t think there is a more invasive weed in our yard. You can pull out one clump and the root system that comes with it can be a foot long. No exaggeration. And if any roots are left, more of it will grow. It is sooooo hard to get rid of. (What are some things or ideas that I am continually trying to purge? What are the root causes?)
2. I had to cut back raspberry branches. I’m not sure if there was winter-kill or if that just happens after awhile to raspberries, but there were obviously dead branches with a ton of fresh growth at the base. (What are some things I need to prune away to give new ideas a chance? Ineffective practices? Outdated classics?)
3. Vines go where they want to go! They’ll also climb up almost anything, especially the dried vines from the year before. I transplanted and redirected some vines that were going wonky. (What are some things that have been successful that we can build on? What foundations have been set, that we just need to redirect and refocus?)
4. I got an apple tree from my son for Mother’s Day and since there is no frost in the forecast anymore, I planted it. (Apparently the tree did not come with the manual labor to get it in the ground!) The hole had to be 2x the width of the pot and 1.5x the depth, and the instructions literally told me to massage the roots before planting. (What am I doing to prepare students for new skills or content? Am I boxing students in, or am I creating flexible enough conditions for growth to happen?)
5. I admit it - I buy seed tape when I can! If you’re not familiar with it, instead of buying seeds in a packet, you can get some “tape” where seeds are stuck to it and evenly spaced out. It makes it much easier to plant and lessens the amount of thinning you have to do later. (Am I providing adaptations and supports so that all students find success? Am I willing to accept feedback and support myself?)
6. And I did a lot of raking. Of cat poop. Because even if you have 40 acres of land for your cats to do their business in, they will do it right behind the house, in the small raised bed area for gardening. (Not sure this one needs any analogy…)
As much as none of these things brought me joy today, I know that the results will bear fruit (literally and figuratively) later this summer. And so it is with learning and education as well. It’s why we do the hard work day after day, year after year.
If you were at a lake this weekend, I hope that you enjoyed the chance to have a few beverages and relax. If you were planting your own garden, or building that deck, or catching up on that book you’ve been wanting to read, I hope that the fresh air and sunshine did you some good too! Last week of May ahead…next up…June.
p.s. It just started raining for the first time this spring. Now I’m smiling. Let it all grow!!
Perpetual amateur. Lifelong learner. Vice-Principal. Teacher. Musician. Mom. Annnnd if you're reading this, then I'm still a blogger.