Garden gratitude, week three

When I started thinking of what I was  grateful for that's garden-related, I wondered if I could think of five things a day that I am  genuinely grateful for. I'm not quite there yet, but I  have one more day until the official day of giving thanks.

31. I saw a nice letter from Willie Nelson in today's issue of USA Today, giving gratitude for farmers. Even committed gardeners can rarely grow all the fruits and vegetables they need, not to mention stuff like wheat, sugar, rice, and so forth. Being a farmer isn't an easy life and I'm particularly grateful for those family farmers who've stuck with it.

32. I'm grateful for garden books, which, at their best, entertain us, teach us, introduce new ideas and ways of doing things, and move us forward. I don't know how  much longer books will be around in their present form, but I hope that in some form they're around for a long time.

33. In that same vein, I'm grateful for book publishers. (And their editors, too. Thanks, Billie!) They're working to find their way through a vastly changing field. I'm sure it's scary at times.

34. I'm grateful for gardening friends who, over the years, have shared knowledge, seeds, books, plants, and -- best of all -- encouragement. My life would be much different without them.

35. And, oh yes, I forgot to mention the authors of those garden books. How much I have gleaned from so many of you!

36. I think just about all gardeners have a group of like-minded people for which they're grateful. It may be a plant society, a garden club, the Master Gardeners. For me, it's the Garden Writers of America. I just don't have words to say how wonderful its members are.

37. I'm grateful that native plants and heirlooms have gained popularity not just among gardeners, who've always been fans, but with the general public. It just makes you feel good that people realize what we had almost left behind.

38. I'm grateful to all the gardeners and garden educators I've interviewed over the years. Not only have the3y been extremely nice to me, they've invariably taught me something, too.

39. I'm grateful for the software such as WordPress and Blogger, which make garden blogging easy and relatively trouble-free.

40. I'm grateful when others remind me to express gratitude for small, everyday things. The sunshine outside today, which made a final last-minute run to the grocery store more pleasant and kept me from rushing. (In a cold climate, you slow down and enjoy all the sunshine you can in winter.)

41. I'm grateful in general for the moderate weather we experienced this year. As a Southerner, I'm guilty of bad-mouthing Boston's weather, but this year wasn't bad at all -- except there was no spring. I was unhappy then, but now, going into winter -- cold and snow -- it doesn't seem as big a deal. Perspective.

42. I love holly! Any and every kind. And this time if year it cheers me up considerably to see the cherry-red berries against the dark green leaves of an American or hybrid evergreen holly shrub or tree.

43. I've noticed a lot of berry-laden bearberries and cotoneasters this year, too. I've never grown bearberry, but I'm really being tempted.

44. As an urban gardener with no "land" to speak of, I'm grateful for the wide variety and size of containers that are now available at decent prices. Even when I get back to having a real yard, I can't imagine giving up container gardening.

45. I'm also grateful for the large number of plants that have been bred to grow well in containers. Visitors never cease to be amazed that I have shrubs, vines, grasses, perennials, herbs, lots of different kinds of veggies. Thanks, plant breeders, for making it easy.

Added Thanksgiving Day:

46. How dull the world would be without raspberries! Once I discovered how simple they were for anyone to grow, I've planted Heritage raspberries wherever we've lived. (They produce crops in eaqrly summer and thoughout the fall, which I love.) For the first time that I can recall, we didn't have a pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving meal. Instead, we had a raspberry pie -- pure delight.

47. Not that I'm not grateful for pumpkins, too. I can't get as excited about them as I do raspberries, but where would kids be without them at Halloween?

48. These gratitude lists all began with thinking about songs connected with Thanksgiving. What does that have to do with gardening? Well, in my case, I find that I hum the entire time I'm gardening -- anything from pop songs to hymns to classics. (Last night we watched "Wall-E" and I was tickled when  my son commented on the humming robots.) I love "Now Thank We All Our God" and the first two verses of "Come Ye Thankful People, Come."

And, of course, "Over the River and Through the Woods," which is really named "A Boy's Thankgiving Day" and dates to 1844. I've always sung it "tro Grandmother's house we go," but Wikipedia says it's "Grandfather's house."

While my parents were alive, we always spent Thanksgiving with them. When I was helping clean out the house after they passed on, I found a file folder with the woods and music to "Over the River" in it -- and nothing else. Although I didn't remember the exact incident, I knew instantly why it was there. Some Thanksgiving we couldn't all agree on all the words -- and afterward my dad went to the public library and copied them so he'd be ready to settle the argument the next year!

49. I'm so very grateful for my mom. She was an inspiration to many people in many ways, and I suspect that I wouldn't have become a gardener without her influence.

50. As far as I recall, the extent of my dad's gardening was mowing the grass. But i remember that once when we'd moved twice within a year, he brought me a Queen Elizabeth rosebush for the new house. We stayed there some years, so every time I tended it or admired its roses, I thought of Dad.

51. My husband always tells people who admire our plants that I'm the gardener in the family, but his part is important, too -- he's a one-man admiration society, always commenting on whatever's in bloom. He also offers large amounts of encouragement, which often is what I need to keep me going. And he's the family's official hole-digger for whatever needs planting.

52. We and our neighbors really apprecaite our street trees in summer, when they provide shade, coolness, and a bit of privacy. But in fall, when they drop their leaves, we groan a bit because we have to keep them off the sidewalk and, eventually, have to rake them up from the street in front of our houses.

It's a tradition for many of us to rake and bag the leaves on Thanksgiving afternoon. Good exercise after a heavy meal. Besides, it's one of the few days that we can actually get to the leaves. Other days, cars are parked along the curb on top of them.

Last year, the leaves were late in falling and we were raking them up way into December. This year, with family here to help, we got them all up in nothing flat. What a feeling of accomplishment to stare down at the curb and see no piles of leaves there.  We all feel grateful.

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