Rules of Thumb, 30x30, and the Laws of Nature

Spring Landscape (Rain), A. Krehbiel My mother had a commonplace book in which she recorded, by hand, in beautiful cursive, proverbs, sayings, and quotes that struck her as interesting, thought provoking, or wise. I also love sayings, and quotes, and mantras, but mostly I’ve collected rules of thumb, those short pithy statements that condense ways of dealing with life on earth in the same way that proverbs give advice on how to behave in prudent, trouble-avoiding ways.  Rules of thumb exist for every field of human endeavor. There are the general ones, such as the 80% rule, or Pareto Principle, that gets applied in sometimes surprising ways—"eighty percent of every thing is trash,” someone will say, or another will say that “80% of your output comes from 20% of your efforts,” for example. The 80/20 ratio is useful in all sorts of contexts. For example, in a perennial garden, the general rule (backed up by scientific evidence) is that about 75-80% of the plants should be native (lo

I've Been Away

What have I been doing? What gardeners do in June: working outside, away from all things electronic.

At my college, the native plants we propagated this winter and spring had to go in the prairie garden. At home the bee balm overwhelmed the hybrid day lilies and had to be restrained; a thunderstorm demolished the peony blooms, which then needed cutting back; the window boxes needed planting; bees and butterflies needed watching and identifying; and the serviceberries got ripe enough that I had to pick some ahead of the birds (hard to do) in order to clean and plant the seeds. They apparently need warm and cold moist stratification. Hopefully they'll germinate next spring.  It's a long time to wait, and germination is only about 50%, but thus gardeners demonstrate faith in the future.
Photo from "How to Identify Serviceberries in the Wild."


Benjamin Vogt said…
My servieberries were ripe for about 6 hours--I have the pics to prove it--then they were gone. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! I guess that's good. Wonder how long the viburnum berries will last.

I saw my first oriole today ever. I'd like to think as a direct result of my maturing garden. Is that hubris?
My viburnum got stripped before the berries were ripe. I think the oriole found a good place at your house.