Garden learning never stops.
Sometimes newer gardeners appear to be unfamiliar with the most common of plants.
Perhaps it is because there seems to be so much to learn about gardening.
That problem is not new.
Nineteenth century Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) wrote in his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly in August of 1881: “A correspondent of one of the London journals declares that some of the best of our annuals, those common in our gardens, and familiar to all gardeners twenty years ago, are now unknown to young gardeners, and that one would be puzzled to pick a lady a bouquet of flowers from positively good gardens, that was not mainly composed of Pelargoniums, Verbenas, and other plants commonly used for bedding.”
He recognized that gardeners needed to keep up with the newest in garden fashion but also not to forget the older plants.
Vick continued, “This is true, and much more true of English gardeners and gardens than of American.” Thus he seemed to put a bit of blame on English gardeners, but praised Americans who were eager to learn about gardening.
His conclusion could have been based on his experience with his seed business. He received hundreds of letters every year from his customers, asking questions about plants and gardening.
Vick was happy to respond to such questions in both his catalogue and magazine.
Today there are dozens of new plants that come on the market every year. Who can keep track of all of them?
One solution might be to continue to learn about gardening through garden visits, garden books, and garden social media like blogs.
Recently I came upon an old fashioned flower, unknown to me for many years.
While in Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I toured the site of the Battle of the Boyne, which took place in 1690 on the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda.
A beautiful Victorian garden is now included in the back of the site’s visitor center.
There I saw one of my favorite flowers, which I learned about only a year or two ago.
A bunch of calendula flowers appeared in this container along the wall near the greenhouse. [below]