by Sandy Swegel
One thing is certain. The older you get, the more you understand the depth of this saying. Too soon old, too late smart? Most of us finally get smarter –in gardening, in life, in work, and in love—but some of us are slow or stubborn learners and by the time we finally “get” something and understand with clarity, we’re already getting a bit crickety and reaching a “mature” age. But it doesn’t have to be this way with gardening. Gardeners are natural teachers and mentors and are generous to share the wisdom of their hard-learned lessons.
And sometimes you find someone who is a learner and collector of wisdom and who has taken the time to reflect on that wisdom and share it. Jane Shellenberger, a friend of BBB Seed, is a gardener who does all of those things. She has created and edited Colorado Gardener, a free print publication, that six times a year presents articles from the leading gardening minds in the greater Denver area. Over the years she has been an avid learner from our scientists, nursery owners, the people who invented the word xeriscape, and our home gardeners. In her spare time, she writes about gardening for the Christian Science Monitor. (links at http://www.coloradogardener.com/)
So you could spend whole days on her free website and get a lot “smarter” about gardening without getting too old, or you could read the book she has just published: Organic Gardener’s Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West. I’ve spent the last week with this book and I’m surprised how many new things I’ve learned….and I’m a gardening research junkie who scours the internet and grills friends and strangers about gardening practices. Jane has gathered the gardening wisdom of her lifetime and the life-long wisdom of stellar home and professional gardeners, scientists and entrepreneurs, and written a book that will teach you advanced gardening techniques but is still beautiful to read and easy to understand. Sort of Acres Magazine meets Martha Stewart Gardening.
We all yearn to pass on the wisdom of our lives. We want the young not to struggle as we did to learn life-lessons. We wish we knew then what we know now. Jane has gathered many lifetimes of garden smarts (and she’s not even close to old) and written a good and useful book. In a world filled with garden books with the same old beginner’s knowledge rehashed, this one stands out and will help make you garden-smart.