Saturday, January 4, 2014

Three BIG Gardening Resolutions for 2014


It is a blue and white day: blue sky; white snow; long, blue shadows from the bright sun. It is cold, with a windchill below 0 degrees F (that's below -17 degrees C my English friends.) I can't complain because it is even colder in much of the country. Taking pictures in this weather is a challenge, so most of the photographs on this posting were taken from the warmth of the den through a dirty window -- it's too cold to clean windows. I did brave the elements to take a couple of macros. Of course, I am not satisfied with the quality of the pictures; I'm never happy with them. This is the year I am going to work to improve my photography -- the first of my three big resolutions for 2014.


I took these pictures with my trusty Nikon Coolpix L120. I loaded them into iPhoto and did a little cropping where necessary, but no other enhancing. Last year I purchased a Cannon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D and enrolled in classes at the local community college. I was determined not to use the new camera on auto setting, but to take RAW pictures, so I would have complete control of the results.  This was a difficult task for me, especially at my advanced age -- 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' and all that. When I became ill in September, I had to drop out of the photography class, but now I am feeling better, and although not completely recovered, I believe I am ready to take up the challenge again. So my dear friends, I hope you will notice an improvement in my pictures as the year progresses.


 'Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.' -- Barbara Winkler


I'm sure I wont have any difficulty keeping my second big resolution for 2014 because I can't wait to start. It is to make at least one miniature garden. I wrote about miniature gardening here and here. I purchased some miniature garden accessories -- arbor, fence, bench, fairies, water cans, and such. I have some containers I believe will work, and some plants including my miniature hostas. I am going to get busy sketching some plans, so that when spring finally arrives I will be ready.


If my miniature garden creations are successful, I would like to make a how-to presentation with photographs and an actual example. I regularly teach gardening workshops at the Older Adult Learning Center at East Stroudsburg University and I think this topic will prove popular if I can pull it off.
  

My third resolution is the biggest, most important, and most difficult one for me: it is to write every day. You are thinking "What's the big deal?" Well, I have been writing a gardening book for years and at first I thought my resolution should be to complete the book in 2014. But when I consider why the book isn't finished, I realize it's because I procrastinate and making a resolution wont stop that. I have perfected numerous excuses why I don't write and they are all pathetic like, "the kitchen floor has to be mopped." Well, maybe that's a bad example; a truer one is, "I must finish reading this book" (I read at least one book, usually a novel, each week.) My excuses are a bit more acceptable in the gardening season when there is actual work to do outside, but we have nearly 6 months when gardening is impossible in this climate. I don't know why I procrastinate, because I really love to write. (I bet there are other writers who understand my problem.)


I was inspired by Stephanie Vanderslice's article in the Huffington Post, 'The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: a Challenge for 2014'.  Stephanie talks about writers' resolutions and concludes that the most attainable one is 'write every day.' If you are a writer, click on the link to see why I decided to make it my goal.


I feel my goal to write every day can include blog writing, articles for the newspaper, my garden journal, and of course my book. Who knows, I might even accomplish something this year, maybe even finish the book. My book is about creating an English cottage garden in less than ideal conditions -- the easiest things to grow in this area are rocks. Wish me luck, and please pray I have the good health to achieve my goals.


Of course, gardening resolutions from previous years still stand: continue to simplify, test the soil, use compost and mulch, etc. Have you made any gardening resolutions this year?


 'A garden is never so good as it will be next year.'-- Thomas Cooper


I hope 2014 is your best gardening year ever!

Pamela x




~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return. 

 
ON MY COMPUTER A LONG BLANK SPACE HAS APPEARED BETWEEN THE THIRD COMMENT AND THE NEXT ONE. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT. PLEASE CLICK ON 'JUMP TO COMMENT FORM' AND YOU WILL SEE THE REST OF THE COMMENTS AND WILL BE ABLE TO LEAVE ONE YOURSELF. I'M TEMPTED TO SWITCH TO WORDPRESS.


24 comments:

  1. Your photos are wonderful and I love your post. I grew up in Minnesota so it was like reading a letter from home.

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  2. Pam, I've always thought you had a great "eye" for knowing what looks good while behind the lens, no matter what the camera. It must come from your eye for garden design. I have a resolution to improve my photography too; I have a new Canon SLR and have enrolled in an online course that starts later this month. My photos have to look good for Lehigh, but I want to improve my personal ones too. Best of luck with all three of your goals! -- Love, Mary Anne

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  3. Enjoyed your post Pam and your seasonal pictures look marvellous. No snow here as yet, I like to see it but only for short spells.




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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  4. I see Bluebell Creek. I wish us both a better year ahead, 2013 was fraught. Good health to you, Pam!

    Do you know the blog Our Friend Ben? They use it as a sort of morning pages, to get their writing muscles in gear ahead of a day of professional writing. I blog weekly, but every fourth post is a wild card - leaving me free to write about wherever my muse takes me.

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  5. I think your photos have improved much over the years. I rarely shoot RAW myself. It takes up too much space on the card and slows down the buffering. I can do much to recover a JPEG in Lightroom and Photoshop if I choose, but you will find if you are writing more on your blog as is one of your resolutions to write everyday in general, there will be little time for photo editing. And what is more important to YOU? I think from reading your post, it is the writing. Too many folks burn out on blogs and it is the photography time that does it. Change your photo resolution to capturing the "right" photo in camera. It will make you a better photographer and you will feel more proud of your improvement. I hope you don't mind the advice. I have taken many photography classes from some well known photographers and it is always about getting the best image in camera. Good luck on that book. I think it would be a good seller. Many have less than optimal garden conditions.

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  6. I became the owner of a Nikon DSLR last year and I'd love to enrol on a course to learn more about photography but I can't seem to find a suitable one in my area. I'm so pleased that you're feeling better now, I do hope that 2014 will be a happy and healthy year for you so that you can achieve all your goals.

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  7. Hello! I think your photos are great, I always enjoy your posts and of course your photos!Have a wonderful 2014. besos. Lilián.-

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  8. Wishing you well in maintaining your resolutions Pam. I'm sure you will achieve all you are setting out to do.
    I don't do resolutions - I'm distracted far too easily ;)
    Your pictures are looking great and a big thank you for converting the temperature for us Brits :)

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  9. Diana -Thank you so much for your comment. I am flattered and amazed that someone as far away as South Africa knows my garden so well. Of course, I like the way you give areas of your garden names, that's why I do it. Would you please send me the link to Ben's blog? Couldn't find it. Thanks. P. x

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  10. Donna - Thank you for your comment. I greatly appreciate your advice and feel you are more than qualified to give it. The instructor of my college class instilled the importance of using RAW, to the extent I would feel guilty not using it. You made me feel comfortable to strive for the best picture in whatever appropriate format, and most important, you have taken the guilt away.

    Thanks also for your positive comments about my current pictures and about my book! P. x

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  11. Thanks for your reply Pam. I left you a long reply on my blog. A few more things to saw on shooting RAW.

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  12. Thanks for your reply Pam. I left you a long reply on my blog. A few more things to saw on shooting RAW.

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  13. It is really cold over there, and your snow pictures are lovely. Our winter has not yet started, may be we get no winter at all. The sun is shining and the temp. is + 8 degr.C., very unusual for January. I loved reading your resolutions and so recognizable. I started to write a gardening book some years ago. The problem is that I have a constant lack of time. Most chapters I write in winter, and even then I have so many things to do before I get started. But....I hope to finish it this year. We shall see.

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  14. http://ourfriendben.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/whatever-happened-to-blotanical/

    skip around he has posts that range widely over all sorts of things. Definitely some there that will hold your interest.

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  15. (by any chance, is there a deleted spam comment, where you Pam can click Delete forever - never seen that long blank space before. Gremlins!)

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  16. Good luck with your resolutions Pam. I enrolled in a photography course last year, but it got interrupted by a trip to England for my parents' 60th anniversary. I may enroll again, although generally speaking I'm happy with the photos I've been getting with my Nikon Coolpix P510. Your snowy garden looks lovely. Mine is sort of brown and dreary.

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  17. No deleted spam comments, Diana. I give up -- gremlins for sure! Thanks for the link. P. x

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  18. Pam, I love your resolutions...I have a similar goal with photography and garden maintenance...and I am intrigued with the writing every day. Not sure I can with my day job schedule, but I write weekly. I hope to write daily once I retire. I am keeping a gratitude journal so in a way I am writing every day.

    And I know about the procrastination and writing. Good luck with all your aspirations....I know you will accomplish much. here's to a very healthy, happy and productive New Year...we are headed for -30F windchills again Monday night thru Wed.

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  19. I enjoyed your post, Pamela. I have written down the plants I wish to add to my garden. The mulching and composting I always do; that I do not need to write down. My major goal is beauty in my eyes! That sounds like an odd goal but it's truly what I wish for. Good luck with your writing. I admire persons who write books. Quite a creative undertaking.

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  20. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. Lovely winter photos. I agree it's too cold to take pictures outside right now. Everything is white & blue in my area, too. Photography is a wonderful hobby. I don't think about the technical details so much ... I just point & shoot whatever evokes something in me. Have fun and Happy New Year :)

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  21. This is exciting news Pam!! Love that you signed up for a class on photography. I always feel my photos are less than stellar but the intricacies of learning how to REALLY operate a camera always deters me. and a BOOK! that is tremendous. I really believe the resolution to write every day is good one. The more you write the more it flows and leads to more ideas. That book will be accomplished in no time!

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  22. Pam congratulations on even attempting to write a book - I hope you have the health and strength to go ahead with your venture. As for shooting in Raw for your blog - I wouldn't do it. If I was you I'd learn how to shoot in manual mode just using jpeg format rather than using automatic and learn how to read a histogram. I shoot in raw but many of those are for professional purposes and rarely appear on my blog. When I'm taking snapshots for my gardening blog I'll switch to jpeg.

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  23. Your resolutions are admirable, but I don't make resolutions. Instead, I simply make plans. I plan to use more seeds in my garden, since it's so darned hard to dig in my rock hard soil. And I do resolve to continue to use hardy, low maintenance plants that like my hot, dry summers!

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  24. I must admit, I stopped making resolutions because I always broke them. Well, actually, last year I did make a resolution that, thankfully, I did complete, which was 'to survive this year'! You have some great resolutions, though. I am working on the first two of those as well (though they are not officially 'resolutions') - I am taking a photography class with our local community center, and I have a big terrarium and a couple things just waiting for me to do something with. Good luck with your resolutions and your book - it sounds awesome!

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