A gardener’s New Year resolutions

January 01, 2010|By Steve Kawaratani

“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The onset of 2010 finds me still in Laguna, lonesome for Baja, but happily spared from the never-ending chatter of expatriate neighbors. Life began here for me, and my mom and sister provide the continuity from the past to the present. My occasional bouts with stress have been tabled for the holidays to make room for calmer introspection.

“Why are you here this holiday?” I am asked again. And in reply, I readily admit that I am facing the peculiar dilemma of dealing with decade-beginning gardening resolutions.


I will strive to be more creative, yet show restraint in my new gardening year. It isn’t necessary to attempt to plant every new rose or every new hybrid within my garden. I will also listen to the suggestions of other gardeners, particularly the trio of Catharine, Jana and Michael, to ensure my garden’s greatest potential.

Gardening produces magic for many of us, because it allows for mood adjustment and freshness of thought.

Rather than waiting to garden because I need exercise, this coming year I resolve to enjoy my garden more often — and play fetch with Buster on a daily basis.

I will be more inclined to follow the sage advice of my father, Pete, who always espoused the virtues of planting from the fall until the spring.

I will try not to plant as much during the heat of the summer. I will mulch my perennials monthly and keep a shaper eye out for insects, diseases and weeds.

Many gardeners practice only one kind of horticulture and cannot be persuaded to try any other.

Beginning this month, I will grow more herbs and vegetables for my family’s consumption. Although the color from flowers is indeed rewarding, why grow only flowers and eat frozen vegetables or market produce three days removed from real freshness?

I will remember to plant my pumpkins in early May, as I promised my mother that we would find a suitable candidate for her famous pumpkin pie for next year’s holidays.

And of course, I’ll need a jack-o’-lantern to light the doorway for Halloween.

And in the end, I will spend the last night of the decade with family.

We’ll toast one another and make unspoken resolutions, but mainly be happy and grateful to live and work in Laguna.

See you next time.

STEVE KAWARATANI wishes everyone a great holiday. He can be reached at (949) 497-8168, or e-mail to

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