A few little attentions make for success in the garden

Lettuce and radishes are coming up in the veg. garden
I've discovered  "a few little attentions which make for success in the garden and minimize the sum of the season's work" hidden in an old gardening book.

They were buried in the introduction of The Busy Woman's Garden Book by Ida D. Bennett (1920).

When I read them, I realized that I'd be embarrassed to have Bennett visit my garden right now. No doubt she'd shake her head, point a finger at my weeds, and tell me to pay a little more attention to my garden.

Would she point out any of these attentions to you if she visited your garden?

The first attention of note is "your garden will give back to you must what you put into it - no more, and the more you give to it the less it will exact of you; neglect it ever so little and it will prove a hard taskmaster indeed..."

In other words, pay attention to your garden because it takes a lot of work to turn a neglected garden into a garden that gives back more than you give it.

The second attention is "one cannot garden successfully on the principle that one can work in the garden when there is nothing else to do, no one to play with, nowhere to go".

Easy to say but hard to do sometimes - garden first, then go do something else.

The third attention is "there are always critical times in the life of the garden; - the gardener must recognize these and be prepared to give just the assistance the condition requires at just the time it is required".  She also wrote, "The failure to co-operate with nature at the right time may result in many hours of wearisome work."

Seems pretty simple. Just do each task in the season and time it is intended to be done - plant in the spring, harvest in the summer, clean up in the fall and the tasks will be easier tod o.

The fourth attention is "if the planting is closely watched and the weeds cut off as quickly as they show a seed leaf above ground, and before they have stuck their roots deeply enough into the ground to make more than a mere stirring of the soil necessary, an entire week's crop of weeds will be destroyed with one stirring of the soil".

I can never quite quite do this. Pull weeds when they are little, and you'll have no trouble with weeds at all.  By the way, this is also one of Loudon's rules of horticulture.

The fifth attention is "There is much in choosing the right time of day for work in the garden".

Of course, use the day to your advantage. Weed in the morning, transplant late in the day. Then the weeds will fry in the heat of the day, and the transplants will thrive in the cool of the night.  At least that's Bennett's theory.

I do need to pay more attention in my garden and soon, before the henbit takes over again, before it is too late to plant, before I have anyone like Ida D. Bennett come and see my garden.

A little henbit and a dandelion under a viburnum
 Bennett might not like seeing all this lack of attention.


  1. Timing is everything I guess. Lovely post.

  2. Greeerrrr---HENBIT! Chop, cut, pull I wish there was way to just CURSE the darn stuff and make it NEVER EVER COME UP AGAIN!

  3. I have to admit I'm a bit obsessive when I comes to weeding - then I have a little moan that nothing sets seed in my garden. I wonder why?????

  4. She would faint if she saw the part of the garden that hasn't had any attention yet. Ha... so it goes.

  5. So that's henbit. Who knew? I did know that plant was a weed but had no name for it. Now I can really give it the dickens and it will know exactly who I am talking to. No more, "Oh, I didn't realize you meant ME".


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