By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Last week, I was weeding around some hydrangeas I planted a few years ago and thinking how easy they’d been to grow. That’s true of most everything in my garden though, because I don’t really fuss over plants. I try to choose the right site – for soil and sunlight – dig a hole the right depth, add a little compost to grow on, and water plants in well. Then, I pretty much leave them alone.

I only water if it hasn’t rained in awhile, and then I only water deeply about once a week – if you pamper plants by watering a little bit every day, they never put down the long roots they need to find moisture and nutrients themselves.

My mother always says her guiding rule in raising children was for us to grow up to be independent. It’s good advice for raising plants too – don’t baby them too much, give them a solid start, then keep an eye out for trouble in case they need a hand. But, like a great mom, good gardeners raise their plants to find their own way to bloom and grow and thrive.

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