Sunday, March 14, 2010

Forever Learning

I was rather amused this week when one of my friends asked me if I was a master gardener. For a moment, I dared not spoil the pretext. Because to be a master of anything would be such an honor. But I quickly dispelled the idea. For one thing, I believe I am too young yet to be a master gardener.

I met a master gardener recently, who told me that the program in Maryland accepts only retirees. And I have many years of service yet ahead of me (and a lot of tuition to pay, as well) before that can happen. But still the idea of expert comes with the territory of writing. For one really shouldn't presume to write about something one knows little about. That might be true about every other topic except for gardening. I think mastery of the garden and all its horticultural and metaphysical secrets is near impossible. A garden, perhaps, is one of the few places where young and old can both marvel at the miracle of new knowledge that is gained there.

This weekend, rain came down for two days straight and produced a misty fog and a mess of mud and crud everywhere. I was master enough of the garden to know that only a fool would venture out there. But outside, the rain came down and nourished the daffodils that are at the bud stage. The herbs began to show that fresh lime green of new growth. The hydrangeas displayed some spark of life amongst their old growth of sticks and dried flowers. And a few of the perennials began to just barely show a hint of things to come around their dried base.

If I am expert at anything, then I can say with certainty that I am an excellent observer, a well studied chronicler, an avid pupil and a fearless experimenter. To watch the seasons bring in the annual changes in a garden; to chronicle the happenings year after year in hopes of gaining some expertise; to ask a question and design a seasonal experiment that will either fail or flourish--this is all the gardener that I am. That's why I call myself a putterer. The Putterer

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