Story last updated at 6:32 PM on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One last encouragement: give gardening a go After 20 years, Gardener says farewell to column

It was significantly easier to start writing this column in January 1990 than it is to stop it in January 2010.

But stop I will.

Twenty years. Roll that around in your mind for a moment.

For 20 years I have done my best to encourage you to garden. That really is the best I could do — encourage.

I have stressed that gardening is not a competition, that it comes from the heart, that there is no such thing as an ugly garden.

There is only your garden.

You can share it with others or not; weed it or not; harvest or not. Do whatever you want so long as you are out there giving it a go.

Gardening is primal. Once humans settled down they started growing food and flowers. No books, no columns, no glossy magazines, no blogs.

And no tomes on composting.

While the children were growing up I was amazed by how much they chattered to me while I weeded the strawberries. Now I have grandchildren-chatter filling my heart over weeds and blossoms, pruning and manure.

Twenty years. I have never missed a deadline or wondered what topic to address — with gardening there is always something at hand that needs to be done and I have been more than happy to share that with you. Delighted, actually.

I thank the Homer News for providing me the unique opportunity to wed two interests: gardening and writing, an ideal situation.

This column has defined my connection to our community, a connection that I cherish.

I have loved those times when I will be introduced to someone and they will connect my name to the column, their eyes will light up and they will be delighted to meet me. I call those "rock star moments." Those same people will often say "I don't garden, but I wouldn't miss your column!"

And thanks to all of you who have said that reading me is like talking to me. I consider that a huge compliment.

The last few years I have taken myself a lot less seriously and, interestingly, that's when I won the Alaska Press Club Best Columnist award for 2007 and 2008 — go figure.

Twenty years.


Rosemary Fitzpatrick has been gardening with gusto in Homer for 30 years.