Mar 11, 2010

Rules For Life In The Garden

Dr. Richard Lighty
Gardening On Earth
A Half Century of Respect for the Land
Wednesday 10, 2010
After more than a century of gardening, Dr. Richard Lighty has something to say.  Until 4 years ago, he gardened on a piece of property, Springwood (7 acres) for more than 40 years.  He now lives in the Adirondacks on 5 acres, where "...we do little except to prune a branch here and there to keep trails and views open.

In the one acre around Bankhouse, we have planted the same species mix that existed before we inserted the house.  Routinely we do nothing more than slowly eliminate those weedy volunteers that naturally come into disturbed areas, and direct the development of the desirable natural vegetation that we introduced, or which came in of its own."

When I think about leaving the garden that I have made, I develop a migraine.  It's an impossible thought.  So how did Richard Lighty do it with such aplomb?

Rules For A Life In The Garden:
1.  Develop a weed strategy.  To control weeds control the seed bank. 
     Otherwise you won't every win the war.

2.  To be a happy gardener create a progression of bloom.

3.  Appreciate the course of life.

4.  It has to do with JOY.  Gardening is not work, if it gives you pleasure.

5.  Decide what kind of garden you need, not what kind of garden you want.

"People ask me wasn't it hard to leave a garden we had worked on for half a century.  
No, we had the process."

Dr. Richard Lighty retirerd in 1998 as the founding director of Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora in Greenville, DE.  In 1960, he established and directed the research programs of Longwood Gardens, and in 1967 he founded the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Garden Administration at the University of Delaware.  In the course of his notable career, Dick has named and introduced more than thirty species and cultivars new to American horticulture and explored for plants in Korea, Japan, Central America, Nigeria, and the eastern North American Piedmont.  Currently, he serves on several boards, including The Garden Conservancy, Longwood Gardens, Stonecrop Gardens, and the University of Delaware Botanical Garden.