Attitude Adjustment

Susie Hill
Frederick County Master Gardener

(1/3) Prior to the New Year, I was talking to my friend, Farmer Jackie, when she said something that struck me. "Plants are my life." That simple statement inspired me. I have always tried to learn from people who are more skilled than I. Farmer Jackie has always been a role model for me because she is skilled, planful, AND she has the right attitude about plants. So this year, instead of making a New Yearís Resolution, I am simply making an attitude adjustment. I am adopting a new mantra: plants are my life.

Twenty years ago, I remember Jackie telling me that her grandmother had a sign in her house that said, "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life". I wish my mom had that in her house. As a kid, we were not allowed to go outside to play until our house chores were done. That usually entailed maintaining our own bedrooms and helping with cleaning common areas. Those chores were done with relative ease and we never suffered from a lack of outdoor playtime. As an adult, however, the list of chores became far more cumbersome. For years, I have reserved my playtime (a.k.a. gardening fun) until after I have finished "crucial" chores. Often, I donít get through that list, and since old habits die hard, I donít get outside as much as I would like.

My friend Nicole shared her solution to this problem. After she gets the kids on the bus, she spends an hour playing in the yard before she starts her day. I canít do it every day, but sometimes I can and it is a much happier way to start my day than wistfully looking out the window while crying into a sink full of dirty dishes. Now I am ready for my next challenge: how to spend even more time outside. There is no better way to develop oneís gardening skills than to spend time doing. If I am going to follow in Farmer Jackieís footsteps, I need to turn over the inside chore to-do list so I only see the blank side- and go outside. My attitude adjustment tells me that itís the next logical step.

Another thing that Farmer Jackie excels at is planning. I stopped to visit one February day and she was actively planning her garden season. This is a crucial step for her business, Tierra Blooms, and one that most active gardeners enjoy. I could tell myself that 2017 is the year I will make a thorough plan. That, however, would be a resolution, and this year I am simply aiming for an attitude adjustment. I read once that in the world of quantum physics, it is the culmination of minute efforts and changes that ultimately lead to quantum leaps. I think that if I can master the art of an attitude adjustment and learn to spend more time doing what I love, those skills will fall into place.

The most important thing that makes Jackie a successful farmer and flower grower is that she has the right attitude. "Plants are my life." I think I will make a plaque to hang over the sink that says just that. That way, in case anyone is wondering why there are dirty dishes in the sink, they will see the sign, look out the window, and see me smiling to myself as I ponder a plant disease or an unknown insect. Then they will know that the dishes arenít done because plants are my life.

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