Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?

By Bonnie Grant | June 23, 2021
Image by ablokhin
by Bonnie Grant
June 23, 2021

My mate and I have different times of the day that we are in the garden. I am an early riser, up with the sun. He is a night owl, often seen in the dark with a head lamp on, picking bugs off the plants and setting sprinklers. His method is fine, and sometimes necessary, but I prefer the quiet and light of an early morning. Few noises intrude, save the birds, and I can meander around, doing little tasks as the world wakes up. 

Up With the Sun

If there is any light at all, I’m awake. In spite of black out curtains in the bedroom, a crack of light will inevitably penetrate, sending me bolting awake. I feel like I have the most energy in the beginning of the day. Perhaps it is from years of hitting the kitchen at 4:00 a.m. to start cinnamon rolls and other baking. Perhaps it’s a natural thing — a response to alert me not to waste any of that precious daylight. Whatever the case, it’s my thing and one of my favorite garden routines.

So, I am out before a rooster crows, hitting my chores and enjoying the peace. With headphones on, broadcasting the news, I am out there with the first rays of light. It is cool, the grass kissed by dew, the birds beginning to sing, and my constant feline companions doing laps as they patrol the landscape. Occasional nudges alert me to their need for love, but mostly they just keep me quiet company as I do my own patrol route. 

Morning is the best time to water, in my opinion. We do have some irrigation set on timers to go off at night, but there is inevitably a site that has to be hand watered, and all my many pots that need some attention. It is a gentle start to the morning, hand watering what needs to get wet. It gives me time to observe any problems and get a jump on them before bugs, disease, or weeds get out of hand. Morning gardening gives me time to organize my thoughts, making lists, and putting things in order of importance. 

Nighttime Watering

My mate thinks night is the best time to water. The cool evenings let the water soak in rather than evaporate. But for me, it is too dark. I crave sunlight like some people crave chocolate. I’m a Vitamin D addict. Morning gardening gives me just a breath of sunlight without the ultra UVs that will inevitably wrinkle my skin. The post dawn walks around the garden are just the thing for clearing sleep cobwebs from a fogged brain, and almost better than coffee for waking up. Plus, it’s the chance to see something new; a new leaf that formed, or a perennial beginning to come back. 

Routine is a Personal Preference

Most people have garden routines. Simple, regular tasks that keep them on the ball and help remind them of necessary chores. Mine mostly occur in the early morning. I’m outside throughout the day, but this is my favorite bit of gardening. Mornings are so fresh and new, just an utter joy to experience fight after waking. 

I hope to continue this habit well into my dotage. The promise of the day is most evident when you are first confronted with the beauty and peace of your landscape.

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