Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Don't Get It

I Don't Get It
I have started listening to a pod cast about food from Heritage Radio Network called "Why We Cook." The host is a hoot and recently had a show called "I just don't like it." In this show, the host listed several foods that she was supposed to love, being a foodie and all and to burnish her chef cred, but she just did not like them. I am stealing this idea and applying it to things in gardens that I gather I am supposed to like, but just do not. Of course, there are many things to dislike, but there are the plants styles of gardening that I feel pressured to express a liking for, either subtly, in reading, or though direct comment... and I just don't get it!

1. All white flower gardens: I think it was Gertrude Jekyll who loved all white flower gardens and suggested that, if you did not also love all-white flower gardens, it was because you had a poor sense of aesthetics, were easily swayed by color and could therefore not appreciate form. I have grown to appreciate white flowers over the years, in nature (think of the giant trillium, shown in a photo below taken by my son 10 days ago on a hike off Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park) and as a accent to the color riot I have and hope to achieve in my flower garden! But, for me, color is where it is at. Not that I like all colors equally, because number two is....

2. Orange flowers: I especially do not like brassy orange in large quantities. I think that the orange azalea should never have been hybridized and give me tiger lilies only in small doses (though they grow so vigorously, it does not stay 'a small dose' for long!). I do like (very) small burst of orange as accents, like tithonia and butterfly weed (plus I like the butterflies the latter attracts!)(it is pictured below)
3. Mahonia or Oregon Grape: I do not have a picture to share. It can be a compelling plant to look at in the landscape, with its spiky leaves and purple fruits, but is compelling the same way a car wreck is compelling to look at , and you feel bad afterward for staring at it. I guess it can look good in the right landscape application, but I have never seen one.

3. Island beds: all the rage is carving a curved island bed in the midst of a wide expanse of lawn, and plopping in an ornamental tree, a shrub, some flowers and some "feature" (a birdbath or whimsical sculpture). While better than no flower bed at all (and just a monotonous sea of lawn) island beds look artificial- just go dig up that lawn and put in a real garden! (I know, many communities in the 'burbs have restrictive covenants that do not allow this, which is why we did not buy into a community with these binding rules).

4. Roses: I started gardening with roses and have grown several rose varieties over the years- floribunda, multiflora,, hybrid teas, climbers, minatures- and they all end up looking like leafless, crappy 'twigs-with-thorns' later in the season. Here on the east coast, most (not all) roses require spraying with pesticides, fungicides and all sorts of cides and, no matter how pretty the bloom, end up looking awful come July. There are apparently some no-spray, easy-care roses ("landscape" roses, an heirloom, English roses), but I have never seen one I truly like, that is lovely enough to bother to grow.
So, I may have POed off some readers, but here is a forum for you- what do you dislike in the garden?
OK, for those of you who have been following the saga of the robin babies, here are two more photos. I left a step ladder about 10 feet from the nest and the robins do not seem to mind it at all, so I have been able to perch there for a few moments and take some photos. While doing just that, taking this first photo of the babies, a parent robin flew right up to feed them. I was so startled, I almost fell off the ladder!

Happy Gardening!


JennaDee said...

I love seeing the robin posts!!!

How It Grows said...

I agree with you on everything except the all white garden. Not that every garden should be all white, but they can be very pretty.

Judy said...

All-white gardens (or a garden that is of any one color flowers) do not appeal to my personal aesthetic, but it is a matter of individual taste.

Anita said...

I've seen everthing you've described in my neighborhood.
I tend to just like nature in general, so there's not much that I absolutely don't like - probably because I don't garden. On the other hand, my husband who does like to garden, has specific likes and dislikes, too.

Are the robins still there? I'll read the more recent posts to see if you've added more to the story. :)