Texas Treehuggers | "In Defense of Gardening" | Article and 4 Photos by Christy Tinsley-Ilfrey

Chinese New Year is here. The Monkey has been shown the door. Hyperactive, unpredictable Monkey ruled 2016 with a bit of chaos and extreme events. His antics entertained us much like that party guest who is a little “overserved” and dances on the furniture. At first we laughed and sometimes even enjoyed the spectacle. But when finally the party was over, we sank into our favorite chairs, exhausted. Like that reliable friend who stays after the party, Rooster helped clean up 2016 and usher in 2017. Good old steady-and-measured-prosperity Rooster.

Inside our new hoophouse with St. Francis

Gardeners are like Rooster. Optimistically we look ahead to the next yield. We prepare our soil and plan our gardens in advance. Steady and measured, we place our seeds in fertile beds and feed the soil. We water and wait. Sometimes we take risks on rare, once-forgotten heirlooms that cost more per seed than an entire package of a standard cultivar. Sometimes we stick with proven performers. We learn which seeds to sow directly in soil, which seeds to put into trays first, and which “ramblers” should be confined to containers lest they conquer our garden. With every new season we make discoveries about our own little slice of the planet.

Cherry tomatoes harvested before Jan '17 freeze

Glass Gem Corn (back), Cherokee Black Beans (fore)
2016 “monkeyed” around with our nursery and gardens with a barrage of assaults – flood, freeze, and cutter ants. But according to Chinese astrology (as well as our profession), David and I were born Roosters. Instead of giving up, we made modifications to fortify against future disasters. We installed pumps in flood-prone low spots to transfer rainwater to a series of dry ponds on the property. We built a hoophouse and started a greenhouse to protect seedlings and other sensitive plants. Our war with cutter ants is still underway…we will win. We will make our gardens great again. We have simply planted and will wait with hope and patience for bounty. The roots are still plugging away. New growth is emerging. Like the gardeners who plant them, these seeds-turned-tiny-seedlings refuse to quit. Hope is restored. As Susan B. Anthony once wrote, “failure is not an option.”

Eagle Pass Okra seedlings
Now that manic Monkey has left the party, let’s invoke our inner Rooster. Tax season got you down? Plant a garden. Cut your food expenses by growing some of your family’s favorite produce. Election didn’t go your way? Plant a garden. Support your environmental causes by growing organic produce and plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife. Election went your way? Plant a garden. Reduce your dependence on commercially produced foods that may or may not be affected by deregulated energy companies. Oppressed because of your sex, gender, race, color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or nationality? Plant a garden. Embrace your power and empower others to reclaim responsibility for their food source. Really, just plant a garden. No matter who you are, where you live, what you do, what you believe: a garden will make positive changes in your community. And you. Inspire independence. Foster freedom. Nurture nature, and connect with your community. Teach your children and their children. We are all part of a giant web of life. Come freeze, cutter ants, or high water; or Monkey, Rooster or any other creature: gardeners approach every season of life with hope and patience.

Christy Ilfrey and her husband David own and operate NativeDave.com. Their mission: "To make positive changes in our community by way of sustainable landscape design and consultation services, speaking engagements and writing projects. We strive to educate, entertain and empower audiences to conserve, preserve, restore and celebrate Nature." You can find Christy and David's informative articles through their column entitled "Texas Treehugger" here.

Email Christy a question! She may use your question in her next article

Facebook Comments

Thank you for viewing this page

WWN's Free Community Newsletter relies on the help of its readers and advertisers to cover overhead costs that enable the WWN to exist. We need your help to continue! Thank you!
You do NOT need a PayPal Account. Use Square

Currently Trending in the Network

Copyright © 2011-2019. All Rights Reserved. Wonderful Women's Network, LLC. Your Community Newsletter Magazine. Committed to news, events, businesses and stories of Rockport-Fulton and Texas Coastal Bend Region. Duplication of content on this site without permission is prohibited by law. Information on this site is time sensitive and for general/entertainment purposes only. Opinion pieces/submitted articles and comments are the thoughts of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the WWN. Paid advertising through the WWN is not available to other general information publications. Always consult a licensed physician before taking medical or health advice. The WWN does not endorse any political party or candidate.