I was talking to a fellow gardener the other day who lives in Vermont, and the subject turned from gardening to weather, as it often does when gardeners chat. She said the morning low in her neck of the woods that day was in the 50s, and the "high" was forecasted to be 70 degrees or so. I nearly dropped the phone! I explained to her that the morning low at my place was 89, and by midday the thermometer would hit at least 103. Add to that the humidity, and the heat index would hover around 110. That makes gardening not only difficult, but downright dangerous. Especially at my age!
My friend admitted that she honestly couldn't begin to fathom what it must be like to garden in such extreme heat (yeah, you're telling me). I was about to say I couldn't imagine her situation either, until I realized that the temperature range she was experiencing is typical here -- in early Spring!
Having traveled from coast to coast, I've experienced the challenges faced by gardeners across the country. In places like Florida and Texas, I've used a pickaxe to plant trees in "soil" so hard it's hard to imagine how the trees survive. I've dodged rattlesnakes while harvesting peppers in Arizona. I've struggled to breathe while sowing seeds high in the Colorado Rockies.
In each of those places, plus many more, I've listened to gardeners tell me how their own situation is unique. And while they may be right, their tone suggests that gardeners elsewhere don't face challenges, and that's wrong. We all face challenges -- from weather, from pests and diseases, from less-than-ideal soils, etc. And yet we as gardeners always seem to find a way to overcome those challenges, and create beautiful gardens in spite of them. We are a diverse and determined bunch, and those traits define us not merely as gardeners but as human beings.
So the next time you start to complain about your heavy clay soil or your infestation of cucumber beetles or your aching back for that matter, remember that gardeners elsewhere are facing challenges of their own.
And while you're at it, think of me, too. It's 107 degrees right now, and I've got weeding to do.