It’s Columbus Day in the United States and our thoughts turn to gardening, as they always do.
In many ways, today is kind of a “discovers’ holiday”, celebrating not just Christopher Columbus, but all those brave men and women who, like Columbus, left the known and sought out the unknown. They discovered new lands, new people, new animals, and for us gardeners… new plants!
What would our gardens be like if there had not been such great explorers, botanists and others willing to leave home and travel to far off lands to find new plants? Look around your garden and think about how many plants you wouldn’t be growing right now if they had all decided to just stay home.
For most of us, it’s quite a few plants.
In my own garden…
Lilacs? All the lilacs in my garden, like the one pictured above, are probably from Asia, yet we identify closely with them as the quintessential spring flowering shrub in USDA hardiness zones 6 and colder.
Tulips? I think they came from Turkey and surrounding areas.
Peonies? Even the peony, our state flower here in Indiana, originally came from Asia.
The other reason our thoughts turn to gardening on Columbus Day is because it is a well-timed day to have off from work if you are a gardener.
In my garden, if I had the day off, and I don’t, I’d be doing fall clean up or maybe planting a tree.
In more southern gardens, I assume those gardeners with the day off would continue to enjoy their ‘second season’ of gardening by planting seeds and flowers that will continue to grow for several more months.
Whatever you are doing, working or gardening, I hope you take a minute and think about all those explorers, including Columbus, who made it possible for you to be gardening with the wide range of plants available to us today.
Yes, it's Columbus Day, and our thoughts turn to gardening, as they always do.