Spring 2004 Forward to a Friend

Excerpt from Cultivating Delight, by Diane Ackerman

I plan my garden as I wish I could plan my life, with islands of surprise, color, and scent. A seductive aspect of gardening is how many rituals it requires. Uncovering the garden in the spring, for example. Replacing a broken-down metal gate with a burly wooden one. Transplanting rhododendrons to a sunnier spot. Moving the holly bushes to the side of the garage, to hide them from the deer, who nonetheless find and eat them, prickles and all. (It may be like our affection for strong peppermints, hot mustards, spicy peppers – maybe the prickles add a certain frisson to the deer's leafy diet.) By definition, the garden's errands can never be finished,

and its time-keeping reminds us of an order older and one more complete than our own. For the worldwide regiment of gardeners, reveille sounds in spring, and from then on it's full parade march, pomp and circumstance, and ritualized tending until winter. But even then there's much to admire and learn about in the garden – the hieroglyphics of animal tracks in the snow, for instance, or the graceful arc of rose canes – and there are many strategies to plan.

Surely there is a new way to outwit the marauding deer and Japanese beetles? Gardeners understand the word pestilence as only medieval burghers did. Gardeners can be cultured and refined. They can be

National Gardening Association
With more than 85 million households involved in lawn and gardening activities, gardening is one of America's most popular leisure outdoor activities. For 32 years, the nonprofit National Gardening Association (NGA) has been dedicated to promoting the benefits of gardening.

The NGA cites five core principles that guide its work:
  1. Gardening promotes responsible earth stewardship
  2. Gardening promotes physical and emotional health
  3. Gardens infuse beauty into our lives
  4. Gardening enhances local and global communities
  5. Gardens are learning environments

To learn more about projects that support these principles and about gardening, go to the NGA's Web site: www.garden.org.

earthy, big-hearted folk who love to get their hands dirty as they dig in the sunshine. They may obsess about tidy worlds of miniature, perfectly blooming trees. They may develop a passion for jungle gardens reminiscent of Amazonia. They may specialize in making deserts bloom. They may adore the weedy mayhem of huge banks of wildflowers. They may create interflowing worlds of color and greenery, in which small meadows give way to a trellised rosebed; a moon garden with blossoms all silver or white; a water garden complete with small bridge and waterfall; a butterfly garden also visited by hummingbirds; a "flamboyant" garden filled only with red, yellow, and orange flowers; a hedge of pampas grasses whose tall plumes sway like metronomes.

Gardeners have unique preferences, which tend to reflect dramas in their personal lives, but they all share a love of natural beauty and a passion to create order, however briefly, from chaos. The garden becomes a frame for their vision of life. Whether organic or high-tech, they share a dark secret, as well. Despite their sensitivity to beauty and respect for nature, they all resort to murder and mayhem with steel-willed cunning.

Nurturing, decisive, interfering, cajoling, gardeners are eternal optimists who trust the ways of nature and believe passionately in the idea of improvement. As the gnarled, twisted branches of apple trees have taught them, beauty can spring in the most unlikely places.

The 175th Philadelphia Flower Show
The largest flower show in the world takes place in Philadelphia. Organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show attracts more than 250,000 visitors. Orchids were featured in this year's 175th celebration in March.

Subaru partners with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, supporting the organization's efforts to beautify Philadelphia and serving as the premier sponsor for the Flower Show.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Web site provides more information about its long history and work in the community. Go to www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org

Patience, hard work, and a clever plan usually lead to success: private worlds of color, scent, and astonishing beauty. Small wonder a gardener plans her garden as she wishes she could plan her life.

Reprinted from Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden, by Diane Ackerman with the permission of the publisher, 2001 by Diane Ackerman. Published by Perennial, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (Paperback $13.95). Visit www.harpercollins.com.

Celebrate National Garden Month in April
"Gardens and gardeners improve the lives of individuals, the health of communities and the condition of the environment." This is the message that the National Gardening Association (NGA) wants to spread through National Garden Month in April. You can help celebrate the "power of gardening." Suggestions are listed on www.nationalgardenmonth.org.

Subaru is the official vehicle of the NGA and National Garden Month. Subaru also is sponsoring the Get Gardening Giveaway across the country. During the Giveaway, 100 winners will each receive a $100 gift certificate to buy plants, tools and supplies from the NGA Garden Shop along with a one-year membership in the NGA.

According to Larry Sommers, Vice President, NGA, "We are very pleased to partner with Subaru to present National Garden Month and to celebrate the many ways that plants and gardens make a difference in the quality of our lives... The Subaru sponsorship will enable us to expand our reach and help Americans establish hundreds of new gardens in school yards and communities."

Leave No Trace
As part of its commitment to the outdoors, Subaru sponsors the Subaru-Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers. Traveling Trainer Team East and Team West hold outdoor classes at national parks and forests, colleges and universities, trade shows and even retail centers. They provide instruction on the principles of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The outreach and training programs are custom-tailored to the audience – from youth groups to experienced hikers.

An international set of ethics ("Principles of Leave No Trace") is at the heart of the training:
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
Follow the work of Team East and Team West by reading their "Notes from the field" at www.subaru.com under Outdoor Life and Mountain. The site also links to the Traveling Trainers' presentation calendars.

For more information about Leave No Trace and to become a member, visit the organization's Web site at www.lnt.org.