While walking downtown Guthrie last week a lady I’d never seen before stepped out of an antique store and began walking with me. She mentioned this gardening article, and then surprised me by asking how long I have been gardening, I paused midstride to consider the answer. I stood with my head slightly cocked off to the side, my eyes wandered to the sky above me searching for the answer. Finally, for flair, I crossed my arms and used a single bony index finger to lure the answer into my right temple by tapping. Master gardeners want to give the correct answer to every question, so it’s important to think questions through thoroughly before answering or at least to appear to be doing so (That’s Master Gardener 101.) “I guess I’ve only been gardening since about 1996,” I finally admitted. I remember feeling my shoulders sag as if I had confessed to some personal failure. The person asking the question seemed impressed though. She smiled broadly, nodded her head and asked a few more questions, told me about her gardening experiences and then was gone. As I continued on down the sidewalk, I began to think about the meaning of the question. Often we feel like we need to qualify our experience or relevance by mentioning how long we have been in performance of any activity. As if time determines our competency. As a gardener you probably know that it’s a life long journey of learning and growing for you and your plants. I’ve accepted the fact that I will never know all there is to know about the plants that I love. But I learn more everyday especially when I’m knee deep in the garden, swatting at bugs, with dirt in my gloves, under my nails and sometimes even in my hair. So no matter where you are in your gardening career let me encourage you to never quit learning. Explore the on-line world of OSU Fact Sheets that will provide you with a plethora of information on any and every topic you could possibly think of. http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/HomePage As for me, I guess I’ll spend some time picking out spring flowering bulbs. Fall and early winter is the time to plant those little babies. Should you be wondering what I’ll be planting, I’m considering the usual; tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, Grecian windflowers, grape hyacinths and maybe some lilies and alliums. Funny thing is, should that lady of asked me that, I wouldn’t have even had to stop to think about the answer, not to mention the demonstrative tapping of the finger against the noggin. Oh! I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done it, but it wouldn’t have been necessary to come up with the answer.