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Quote of the Day: Van Gogh

August 12th, 2012

“It is in looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.”

Van Gogh (found in Provence: A Country Almanac)

I’m an observer, especially when it comes to gardening. I think patient observation is one of the most important skills for a gardener to have.

When you slow down and spend time simply watching how things work in the garden you can learn a lot because things aren’t always what they seem at first glance. The area I’ve gained a deeper understanding by doing this is in the insect world.

The more I stop and watch, the more I see it as a complex system where each insect is a piece of a giant puzzle. Removing one of them, no matter how pestiferous, leaves the puzzle incomplete.

You might notice a “pest” one day and be distraught. If you are patient and keep a close watch, you will most likely see a predator move in. If the predator does not appear during this cycle it will probably appear during the next. You will also have gained a better understanding of the life cycle of that insect.

Our gardens are really a very complex system, the more we sit back and observe the more this comes into view. Every bird, insect, plant, and microbe is an important piece in the web of life. Even we are pieces, hopefully ones that fit in perfectly! What we choose to do and refrain from doing in the garden can make a big difference in what the final picture looks like.

Is there anything you have noticed in the garden because you took time to slow down and spend some time observing?

8 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Van Gogh”
  1. Shannon on August 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Beautiful photos. I think the main thing that I have noticed is just the existence of this whole insect world, a world that I was largely unaware of until I started gardening. I love to see the dragonflies zooming around, and the beetles scuttling across the ground.

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  2. Nebraska Dave on August 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Susy, I haven’t gotten down to the bug level yet. I’m still just enjoying the plants. I do just sit and contemplate about changes to be made in the garden or how to improve this year’s garden. I wouldn’t say that my garden is organic but I try to keep weed control as chemical free as possible. It’s been a challenge at the new garden (Terra Nova Gardens) but I’m at a point that next year will be chemical free. My garden as been pretty bug free. My issue will be mostly the animal life. There are rabbits, wild turkey, groundhogs, deer, raccoon, probably possum, woodchucks, garter snakes, and squirrels. It’s veritable wild land zoo. Everything I grow there I intend to share with the wild life. I’m not sure about how to do that and still get some for me. It will be a challenge but I’m determined to meet the challenge.

    Have a great garden observation day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on August 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Big animal pest can be quite a problem if you don’t have natural predators in your area, in that case you either have to keep them out with a barrier or become the predator. Lucky for me, Mr Chiots hunts and deer in the garden become meat in the freezer.

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  3. Rhonda on August 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I love the photo of the firefly. It’s like he has his hand cupped around his face so he can see in. “Hey, whatcha guys doin’ in there?” :-)

    The most recent “thing” I’ve noticed is I have a little bunny in my garden. This rabbit is almost tame. It gets startled at first but when it realizes I’m not going to hurt it, it just sits there and eats weeds — yes, weeds. It doesn’t hurt my garden at all. Well, I take that back — it probably ate my swiss chard sprouts, but that’s ok. The rabbit just sits there and watches me while I tend the garden. I like having my little bunny friend.

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  4. Maybelline on August 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Yes. Grasshoppers. However, I am not a pacifist with these buggers. No. They are smooshed, smashed, chopped, and destroyed as I encounter them.

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  5. Estelle on August 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Ants totally fascinate me! They are hard working, cleaning up my garden, while kick back and savor the fruit of their labor!

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  6. cohutt on August 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    The hundreds of bees and wasps that are less that 1/2 inch long, sometimes significantly less, that are the secret pollinators of the world.

    Dragonfly nymphs, like the one that crawled out of the garden pond onto the water lettuce while I was checking for tadpole progress, which then molted in front of me, effectively eliminating 2 hours of valuable / productive time one Sunday morning.

    (Nice work here; I found you while searching for a different tomato soup to can and dispose of the reams of romas that clutter my sun porch now. )

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    • Susy on August 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You really do notice all those tiny pollinators when you slow and spend some time watching.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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