Meaning: Completely contrary to nature, reason or common sense

Siberia greenhouse

Gardening is always an act of faith and hope, but looking at both the thermometer and snow and ice, well, it seems preposterous that we will have the abundance of flowers, fruits and vegetables ever again. We will.

Let’s be grateful for the snow cover that is like a big, snuggly blanket.

Over the years I have heard of and witnessed plants that are absurd. A colleague’s mother grew a lemon tree from a promotional seed that she kept indoors, and it thrived until he took it in and it perished. If you have an unlikely plant thriving in a location, whether inside or out, it is a great sign…so why not buy a lottery ticket?!

The flip side of this is plants that everyone else can grow but I fail at. High on my list of failures are sweet peas, roses and rhododendrons. Really? Sweet peas? OK, OK, you put them in the ground or container and they grow just fine but flower…oh, we were supposed to flower?

Many folks have great success with roses. There may be a magic to location, winter cover, choice of music or fertilizer. They are a great triumph in this climate. More hardy ones are available now, so let’s not give up.

Rhodies seem to be everywhere but my garden. Again soil pH and location to the sun may explain the problem.

That said here are three examples of preposterous! This yellow magnolia is 35 years old, lives amid the cedars and blooms when it should have been composted a long time ago.

In 2016 we traveled along the Kolyma Road in far eastern Russia from Magadan to Yakusk. “Desolate” and “dystopian” are kind descriptions. All dirt roads. In each small town, including Omyican “the coldest inhabited place on earth,” folks had used salvaged material to create greenhouse space to grow cucumbers, tomatoes etc. The gardening spirit is preposterous.

Finally, a visit to Tristan da Cunha (South Atlantic, halfway between Buenos Aires and Cape Town), population 300. A British island. Very windy and cold. The only access is by ship. They grow strawberries, cukes , rhubarb and tomatoes.

So, order too many seeds. Do not overwater your house plants. Prune your trees. Know spring will come.

Vera Maroney has lived in Charlotte for 45 years and in the same house in West Charlotte for 40 years—plenty of time to make every gardening mistake multiple times. She cherishes the local nurseries, the UVM Extension Master Gardener Program and the uncertainty of gardening. And she’s an avid reader of The Charlotte News.