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A Gardener Learns When to Say When

I’m just fine with a bit of excess. “Even moderation in moderation,”
I often repeat to my wife and kids.
It would seem that the muscles responsible for rolling eyes would eventually wear out, but I don’t think that they do.

"More" isn't always "better" in the garden. For Scott, that applies to pink flamingos, gazing balls and variegated foliage.

"More" isn't always "better" in the garden. For Scott, that applies to pink flamingos, gazing balls and variegated foliage.

So, if "some" is good, is "more" better? Well, sure. Sometimes. You can’t have too many gardens, and, in gardens, I would suggest you can’t have too many flowers. Someone once asked me, “Can I plant more trees in my yard than the books recommend?” I replied, “Have you ever been to a forest?”

But while a pancake dinner once in a while will make a dude happy, a pancake dinner every night will, sadly, make a dude need a defibrillator. A few drinks can help me enjoy a delightful evening with the in-laws. A few more than that, however, and I’m begging forgiveness for weeks and weeks!    

After decades of neglect, my lawn was overtaken by nimblewill, a terrible weed. Probably the only one that can prod me out of the blissful state of not giving two shakes about my turf. So I went out and administered all kinds of abuse upon it, and then I over-seeded. 

But I screwed up the setting on my drop spreader and, realizing my
mistake midway through, had to go back and over-seed my over-seeding. It was a very hot day. I grew frustrated. I got mad, took shortcuts and wound up sowing twice as much seed as I should have. Didn’t care. 

Until I did care, the next morning. A little googling, and I quickly found some articles about applying too much grass seed, and none of them encouraging. 

From this experience, I tried to sift out a lesson. I could have ventured down the hackneyed “haste makes waste” avenue, or reminded myself again that angry people make bad decisions. Instead, I focused on the many opportunities gardening offers gardeners that debunk the concept of “more is better.” 

Using chemicals? Read the label and follow it. Fun fact: More is 
definitely not better with anything the EPA might eventually ban.  

Any third-year vegetable gardener 
can tell you it is possible to have too many tomato plants. And zucchini. 

Organic matter? Can’t have too much of that, right? Well, too much of any good thing you normally want in soil, and, boom, it’s whack-a-mole time with weird nutrient deficiencies and other wonky problems.   

Artistically—and this is just my opinion—you can indeed have too many gazing balls. Like even one. Likewise pink flamingos. It’s also possible to have too many variegated plants. If you happen to notice that visitors to your garden are routinely going into seizures, take inventory of your variegated plants. You might have too many. If that’s not the case, count your chartreuse plants. 

Excess in moderation. Flamboyant abundance soberly managed. This is how gardens work best. It’s 
a fine line of artistic license and 
scientific method. 

Yeah, I know. Good luck with that!