The Reluctant Gardener

Posted on July 21, 2010


Our "gardening nook" in the garage.

Gardeners, I’ve discovered, appear to enjoy making things complicated.

Look at the whole “flower/weed” thing.

I agree that some plants look really nice, while others look like crap. The problem is that professional gardeners seem dedicated to declaring a lot of the plants that look really nice to be “weeds,” and a lot of the plants that look like crap to be “flowers.” Now I can enjoy the aesthetics of plants (even if I don’t go out of my way to view them), but my aesthetics include a lot of “wilderness” — as in meadows, fields, and abandoned lots. A patch of long grass has its own beauty, as long as it’s kept within certain confines.

This is especially true when it’s been a hot, dry summer (as we’ve had here), and neatly-trimmed grass looks brown and sad. To offset the parched look of the yard, I’ve been experimenting with “wilderness borders”: a wavering, but defined area around the edge where I just let things grow naturally.

I think the effect is nice. I wish it photographed well. Or rather, I wish I had a camera rather than a cell phone camera, but then I’d probably drop it and break it and that would be a shame.

I’ve been doing the same around the base of our pear tree, too, and I think the effect is rather nice.

Here’s another shot of the tree, this time with more yard for comparison, and a slightly less unnatural colouring to the photo (I’ve got no idea what went wrong in the previous one).

There used to be an old umbrella tree in the yard, but it was destroyed by lightning a few years ago. All that remains now is an unsightly stump. I’ve taken to framing it with long grass and clover, effectively transforming it from an eye-sore to a neat little art project.

The plant growing out of the stump may be a new umbrella tree, but since we’ve got no idea what an umbrella tree looks like, we’re at a bit of a disadvantage in identifying it. For now, we’re just going to let it grow and see what develops.

Which, when you come down to it, pretty well encapsulates my philosophy of gardening.