Monday, March 2, 2009

If It Doesn't Bring Me Pleasure, It's Not Worth Doing (in the Garden, at least)

I spent Saturday at the Garden Symposium that is presented every year by the Georgia Perennial Plant Association, at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. More about that in posts to come.
(Doesn't "Garden Symposium" sound so very proper and fancy gardener-like?)

This year's theme was "Back to Our Roots: The Southern Garden Revisited," which is somewhat in keeping with a post here a while ago, talking about having a sense of "place" in one's garden. That was the overwhelming (underlying) theme at the Southeastern Flower Show this year; in a nutshell, stop trying to have a Maine garden in Atlanta, and stop trying to have a Texas garden in Minnesota!

All of this led me to come up with a list of things I spend my time doing in my garden that DO or DO NOT bring me pleasure. I'm committed to spending more time doing those things that bring me pleasure, and less time doing those things that do not.

For example:

1. I'm going to spend more time reading the Sunday newspaper and Martha Stewart Living with a cup of coffee outside in the garden, rather than indoors; that is the whole reason I used for buying the bright blue patio furniture that my neighbors hate; (I know Martha makes us all live in a fantasy world, but I want to BE Martha and live on that "farm" in NY!)

2. I'm going to spend more time exploring more parts of my little garden, rather than just the area I see when I travel from the front door to the truck;

3. I'm going to apologize less for areas that are messy and simply enjoy them as they are. I got over that phobia about the inside of my house a few years ago, so doing the same thing outside is huge progress for me!

4. I am going to stop stressing over the fact that I don't edge my lawn. I hate everything about the lawn, most of all the amount of maintenance it requires. Since it is mostly native "greens" rather than fescue or zoysia, edging seems rather pointless, anyway.

5. I'm getting rid of the fancy heucheras that don't grow of their own accord! As one of my friends said on Saturday, "I believe in tough love gardening. If it doesn't want to grow here, I don't have time to BEG it to grow here!"

6. I'm buying more hydrangeas, and don't care if they're overused! I LOVE hydrangeas (and those I'm willing to beg)!


  1. I need to do #3. This is great! We work so hard to make it into something that we don't take time to enjoy it. I do not have a covered patio (yet), and this is top on my list. I live for the day to have a screen porch or a covered patio so I can sit outside more and enjoy the work I have done to this point

  2. I like to tell people that because my garden is organic, there is some inherent mess from leaf litter and such. That goes along with my "perennial beds that spill out into the native herbal lawn!" (AKA he doesn't edge the grass when he cuts it)

  3. I love your list. I especially like #3 because I have that problem too and there are a lot of messy areas in my garden. About Martha - you know, I used to hate her (I read one of those biographies, :o) but now I can't get enough of her. I Tivo her show every day and just started subscribing to her magazine. I want to be her too but most of all, I want her gardeners and staff. LOL

    P.S. - We have around 60 kinds of hydrangeas. They are wonderful aren't they?

  4. Hooray! I've done all these except number 1, and I should start that (sitting outside, though with different reading and beverage accompaniment). I starting doing #2 last year and it was really rewarding. It's not that my garden is all that big, it's just that we don't always take time to see things. I even wrote a little post about it in my now-defunct other blog. #3 is probably hard for all gardeners, but worthwhile. #4 I hate lawn and don't edge it. #5 I love heucheras--some of mine have flourished and some have died. I accept it. I've always been kind of tough love on plants. #6 It's always good to grow plants you like! And not ones you don't. I've never grown a rose, for example.

  5. Thanks, Tim, for synopsizing what I couldn't articulate for myself. All of your list is a gardener's "Must Do". Now I just have to do it!