Gardeners unite: Set goals you don’t intend to keep, gain comfort with reality

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TOPEKA, Kan. — One Kansas gardening guru is adopting a new approach to 2009 New Year’s resolutions. She’s suggesting fellow gardeners follow suit and perhaps gain new comfort with reality.

“Rather than set goals you lose sight of within weeks, make resolutions you have no intention of keeping — ones you simply can’t visualize yourself doing. It’s eye-opening, as well as fun,” said Jamie Hancock, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Can’t keep

Hancock’s ideas on 2009 goals that an average gardener could resolve not to keep include:

I will not think of gardening as a competitive sport.

I will stay within my budget at the nursery. Alternate: I will actually budget before shopping.

I won’t play hooky from my job because a day is perfect for working in the yard.

No new plants will come home with me until I have planted the ones I already own.

I will vacuum my car’s trunk regularly. Alternate: I will plant a botanical garden there.

I will not buy pots just because they’re pretty or on sale (to store with all those in my shed).

I will not “check” on my garden — much less stay a while — before changing out of pajamas.

Applying sunscreen this year will routinely include my lower back.

I will refrain from gardening by flashlight. Or ambient porch light. Or tiki torch.

I will not make “quick trips” to the store in muddy clothes with dirt under my fingernails.

Even wilting plants will have to wait while I first change out of flip-flops or work/church shoes.

I will stop telling my family I’ll only be out in the garden for five minutes.

I will not weed or deadhead other people’s plants in passing. (It embarrasses my husband/wife.)

I will clean, sharpen (if needed) and properly store all tools — just as soon as I find them.

My compost pile will not justify my “borrowing” bags of clippings/leaves from neighbors’ trash.

I will not assume everyone I meet would enjoy a good discussion on gardening.

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