Clutter: How to Manage a Garden Center Disaster Zone

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Gardening clutter can creep up on us without warning. One day your garden center is neat and clean, organized to within an inch of its life, sparkling and shiny, everything in its place.

Clutter is not the enemy. Lack of putting stuff away is!

After (or possibly before) a major catastrophe

And the next time you head back into that formerly perfectly organized garden center, it looks like it’s time to call FEMA, since it seems like nothing less than an M8.5 quake struck since the last time you looked at it in daylight.

Ok. I use the term ‘you’ pretty loosely up there when really I should be saying ‘me’ — and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

So what the heck happened? (Warning: This could get philosophical.)

Like Water, Clutter seeks its own Level

For me, what happened was two years of waiting for things to sprout, watering every day and carefully trimming unruly upstarts, tending the shoots and trimming the sprouts carefully and lovingly – in another room (which is, I might add, relatively clutter-free).

For me, what didn’t happen was two years of repotting and reorganizing, of clutter busting, thing-throwing-out’ing, and careful attention to levels of inventory of peat pots and planters, potting soil and peat moss, vermiculite and whatever those little rocks are — somehow I have a bucketful and I don’t remember why.

Convenience + Procrastination = Clutter

“OH, I would never let that happen in MY garden center!” I hear you tsk-tsking and glimpse you shaking your head. I know. I said the very same thing when I started this little learn-to-garden adventure two years ago. Clutter would never get the better of MY garden center, I swore!

Truth be told, I can’t blame it on the clutter. It’s not the clutter’s fault.

It was easy to just slide open the glass door between the TV room and the patio, rest a bucket or a planter inside, wave a scout’s honor sign in the air that I’d be back REAL SOON to put the item on the shelf or in the stack where it belongs.

It was easier to blame the lack of a working light fixture for the darkness in the room, rather than take the ten steps to where a flashlight is stowed.

And that’s when it dawned on me – the mighty metaphor.

Gardening isn’t about the Easy

There is no ‘easy way out’ in gardening, in the long run. Sure, there are shortcuts and life hacks – just like in any pursuit.

On balance, though, gardening is about waiting for the seed to decide to sprout. Checking the water levels. Tending the rows and pulling the weeds. Fretting over the blossoms. Picking off the icky looking bugs. Waiting for the right time of day. Amending the soil with just the right mix of this ‘n that. Walking the long path. Repeatedly.

So… How to Manage a Gardening Disaster Zone?

In answer to the question: The best way to manage a gardening disaster zone is to treat your garden center like you would treat a plant. Take that extra step and pick up the flashlight to put the empty planter pot where it belongs. Not just when it’s convenient to do so – every time.

Here’s hoping tomorrow I can post a much nicer “After” picture.

To your garden success!
Casey – the Garden Lass

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