Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Perfect Garden

Through time, by nature or circumstance, gardeners and their gardens evolve, as does their opinion of what the perfect garden is.  As I work in different people's gardens, I must remember the details that are important to them.  What one person considers a weed, another considers a treasured plant and maybe wants seedlings dug up to share.  Where one person wants plants left at the end of the season for winter interest, another wants everything cut perfectly at ground level.  Their gardens range from one of everything to specific collections, from cottage to formal.  That is the beauty of my work.  Getting to do different things to see what I want to incorporate into my own garden.

When I first started gardening, as many gardeners, I was the one of everything type.  Free plants were especially desirable.  I wanted to try everything.  As time went by, I determined I had to narrow down plants.  Though an extensive list looks nice on paper, there is not room in my small yard for everything.  Especially when they are plants that love to spread ... the type you most often get for free.  One lady I work for laughs that it took her seventy years to get to the point that she did not have to have every plant, but could be content to say, "I grew that once."  Needless to say, by this point, some more invasive plants are very well established and it can be overwhelming to get rid of them.

Through the one of everything phase I did get a good idea of how plants behave and the type I like.  Without fully realizing it, I amassed some nice collections.  In the evolution of the garden, I took out plants that were not spectacular and grouped various collections together to compliment each other as well as show the extent of the collections.  Because of the work I do, I still get lots of free plants, but I always verify first that they are not invasive.

I suppose that now my perfect garden is an organized cottage garden.  I like the lush informal look of the cottage garden, but I also like specific gardens.  Regardless of how the next gardening year turns out, I can already see my shade gardens overflowing with hostas, accented with heucheras, ferns and various shade plants ... rose gardens filled with fragrance and complimented by peonies, day lilies, mums and a wide variety of perennials and self-sowing annuals ... the xeroscape garden lush with grasses, sedums, iris and other hardy plants ... hens and chicks running over in the Sempervivum bed ... a bountiful crop in the veggie and herb gardens.  I am reminded of a joke that they once did an autopsy on a gardener and found she was full of "next years."

9 comments:

  1. I am a new gardener...this is my first year. And I am amassing tons of free plants. We have a 1 acre property that I want to transform and am finding that I am planting a lot of temporary beds as I can't get it all done in one year. I can't believe it took me 38 years to fall in love with gardening, but I am so excited. Hardest part is patience..next spring can't come fast enough! :)

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

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  2. Better late than never. Just remembered my first year of serious gardening. I sent for every gardening catalog I could find, all at once, not thinking about the poor mail man. LOL He told me, "I thought I got a lot of gardening catalogs." Come to find out, his wife works for a large greenhouse/nursery and is on the local new's gardening segment. We now have nice gardening chats when he has to deliver something to the door.

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  3. That's pretty awesome. I know that it does open up a whole new circle of friends. I do the school portraits for our local park district's preschool ( my kids all went there too) and just found out through the one of the teachers that they have a gardening club where the ladies all get together and tour each other's gardens and share plants, visit botanical gardens, etc. Excited about joining that in the spring!

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  4. Look around and I'm sure you'll find more. In our area there aren't just several gardening clubs, there are herb, hosta, pond and rose guilds or societies ... that's just that I know of.

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  5. I'm sure there are, but I just don't have the time for doing a lot of that stuff. "The internet is so full of info and people willing to share their plants/flowers.

    BTW, I found another blog that I really enjoy and am trying to get through the beginning. Also a zone 5 garden. Love her gardens. http://wifemothergardener.blogspot.com/

    Hoping I will be able to see more of your gardens too! ;)

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  6. I'm not a member of any clubs ... I'm not very social. LOL

    The blog you posted looks interesting. I love looking through garden pictures for inspiration. I think it would be neat to travel to all those gardens, but I'm too much of a "home body." The goal for my "perfect garden" at this point is to make my garden, though small scale, comparable to a public garden. I am putting more money into it than I would have at one point in time, but it is still less expensive than the travel and something I can enjoy for years to come.

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  7. Funny because I'm not very social either. LOL And I'm a total homebody as well. It's hard for me to get out and be social, but once I do, I do find that I enjoy it. Especially given the chance to expand my garden collections at very little cost! :)

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  8. I hear you there! Here's an idea you may like to try. We did this once at the bot garden.
    http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/198/

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  9. Wow..what a fabulous idea. I'll have to keep that in mind and maybe pitch it to our park district's garden club, if I join. :)

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