Georgia Department of Agriculture


I’m not from a long line of travelers.  I think my family spent most of its will to travel in crossing the ocean to America and once settled were happy to stay put – thank you very much.

The Arty apple did not fall far from the family tree.  Like the rest of my well-rooted family, I’m usually not far from home.

I do adorn my refrigerator with post cards from vagabond friends on trips to London, Australia, Oregon and even Mansfield, Ohio.  I don’t begrudge them their faraway adventures.  My passport to beauty and relaxation is only a few feet from my door – in my garden.

The white ginger by the front porch is as lei-worthy, fragrant and luminous as anything the Aloha State offers.  My zinnias, marigolds and portulaca (all Mexican natives) are fiesta-bright, and I enjoy them without worrying about Montezuma’s revenge.  The windmill palm fronds visible from my living room window make me feel like I am in Key West rather than Cabbagetown.  To me, rooting out the most pernicious weed is more enjoyable than waiting for hours at the airport. 

There’s a word I heard batted around last summer: staycation – a combination of “stay” and “vacation” and defined as vacation time spent staying at home or near home instead of driving or traveling long distances due to the high price of gasoline or some other restraining economic factor.

If it looks like you are going to be staying home this summer, I encourage you to plant a garden.  A few flowers can help take your mind off your troubles, and a garden makes your home a more pleasant place to be.

Most of all, I know when I am planting and tending to trees, shrubs and flowers I am making the world a more beautiful, healthier place, not just for me, but for other people and other creatures such as the hummingbird that flashes me with his ruby throat before zipping off to the Yucatan for the winter or the monarch butterfly that flutters over the garden and probes every bloom like he has all the time in the world though he is migrating to the mountains of Mexico. They move at different speeds, but both are better adapted to traveling than I. 

I appreciate the visitors nature sends my way, including the out-of-town guests sauntering along the sidewalks of Cabbagetown who stop to inquire about the erythrina or the poppies.  I hope my garden made their vacations memorable.  Perhaps a photo of it will make it onto their refrigerators.

                                                                                                                                                      -- Arty Schronce

Arty Schronce lives and gardens in the historic Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta. He encourages everyone to discover the pleasures of plants and gardening.

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