Spring into Action

If you are going to try cross-country start with a small country. I love that phrase because it applies to both running and gardening, two activities I enjoy. It’s actually well “rooted” and well “footed” advice for those getting started. I believe when you take up running you slowly but surely develop a love for it as you increase distances and improve your time.

River Bank Run at 5 mile point 10K

Suddenly that day comes when you find yourself addicted to finding time to go for a run. The same applies to gardening. After a long winter I find some people decide to go all out on gardening and landscaping biting off more than they can chew. When the summer heat and weeds arrive their passion wanes. Approaching both passions in bite size pieces you learn as you “grow” and understand your rewards come from approaching it as a marathon and not a sprint.

Spring is a wonderful season. A call to “spring” into action after a long winter. The earth comes to life and we get outdoors for fresh air, sunshine and physical activities. For those who have never run the Fifth Third River Bank Run, now in its 35th year, I suggest you try it. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. I’ve found that is true for running, for gardening and for life in general.

With gardening I was always taught that if you haven’t killed a plant you’re not trying hard enough. Those who claim to have a “brown thumb” I always encourage to stay in the game. When it comes to running train properly and be prepared. Stay in the game understanding there will be good days and there will be bad days. That’s OK……that’s life. Runners like to say “time wounds all heels”. The rewards come from challenging yourself. Just do it smart…..in bite size pieces. Start with a 5K or a 10K race.

Fifth Third River Bank Run Finish

Whatever the event at the Fifth Third River Bank Run, you’ll feel the adrenaline rush surrounded by a multitude of other runners at the start line and the personal satisfaction of crossing the finish line. And with gardening, don’t expect to master Hydrangeas, Gardenias and Orchids until you’ve dabbled with a few Tomato and Pepper plants. Whatever you do just don’t throw in the “trowel.” Stay in the game and spring into action.

Tribute to Ralph Snodsmith

I remember Mother’s day weekend in 1993. It was the first time I rolled up to a microphone to do a call-in gardening radio show. I did that first show with my friends Hank Prins and Phil Tower at WOOD radio in Grand Rapids.

Rick Vuyst & Hank Prins 1995

17 years have flown by or shall we say 884 weekends of gardening talk radio. In June of 1996, my friend Hank Prins suddenly died from a brain tumor and everything changed. I remember at that point I had to make a decision whether to continue to do the show or throw in the “trowel”. I remember being sad, frustrated, in denial, experiencing numerous emotions at one time. I decided to continue on with the Flowerland show and I am glad that I did. My senses were heightened and the link between people, plants and the art of conversation grew more and more evident to me. We are connected as people and rooted in an appreciation of creation, life and our surroundings. I personally think heaven will be a flowering garden in the cool of the day.

Our landscape lost another great gardener and gentleman this past weekend in the passing of Ralph Snodsmith. As host of The Gardening Hotline on WOR, Good Morning America garden contributor and author of gardening books, Ralph Snodsmith shared his love for plants with many. I remember reading his books as I was starting out in garden radio. His “well rooted” advice like “don’t put a $10 plant in a 50 cent hole” is as practical today as it was 15 years ago.

Ralph Snodsmith The Gardening Hotline

I had the privilege of sitting in as a guest host for Ralph a few weeks ago as he dealt with his illness. Now I’ll never forget that opportunity…just like that first radio show with Hank in 1993. In Ralph Snodsmith’s book Fundamentals of Gardening he states, “I want people to become aware of their plants and their surroundings”. Well I would say Mr. Snodsmith did a great job of it over the course of his lifetime. I for one have learned to be aware of our connections as people, our love for plants, our surroundings and not take them for granted. It was said well years ago by F. Frankfort Moore in A Garden of Peace-a Medley in Quietude….”I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day”.

-Rick Vuyst