THE ARGUMENT FOR GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY

To the dismay of publishers everywhere, I believe that once you understand the basics, you are better off growing plants than reading about them. Finding plants to grow is easy. The number of mail-order seed companies and nurseries increases every year. ... Get in the habit of visiting local nurseries. Stop when you drive past a hand-lettered sign on a tree that says ``Plants for sale.'' The cardboard-box-full of daylilies or rhubarb that you come away with will likely be accompanied by a full set of advice tailored precisely to the conditions in your own garden. Above all, ask yourself every spring what it is that you have dreamed of planting someday, and commit yourself....

Gardening is 100 percent enjoyable in anticipation. If it sometimes is only 50 percent enjoyable in execution, it invariably becomes 200 percent enjoyable in retrospect. You are missing out on more than half of your due if you content yourself with dreaming of imaginary bouquets and future harvests. The best advice that I have to give is get out there and dig. - From `The Practical Gardener, A Guide to Breaking New Ground,' by Roger B. Swain

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