Central Virginia Organic Gardener

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gardening Versus Landscaping

I have been checking out garden books for winter book reviews, settling on several books with "easy" in the title or description (a sign of age?). These books have reminded me of the distinction between what I like to do- gardening- versus landscaping. Many books about gardening are really about landscaping and follow the "House Beautiful" model, that is, the model that purports to show the reader how to achieve perfection, when it is really about cultivating desire. Now there is plenty of desire in the type of gardening I do (mostly to eat perfectly ripe and exquisitely tasty produce, but also to feed and nourish the bees, birds, butterflies and souls who see it), but this desire is not about comparison to neighbors or achieving "Martha" perfection. I do not do landscaping, I garden. I garden for the sheer pleasure of planting and watching the plants grow, for eating that luscious tomato or raspberry, for getting my hands in the dirt and my face in the sun. To me, landscaping is more static- creating some relatively stable group of plants, that are chosen for durability and set along the foundation or in and island bed. Gardening is far less controlled, and contains many more surprises (some good, some not) and allows for greater spontaneity. Above are two photos- the front yard when we moved in: it looked like every yard in the subdivision. The house had a boring lawn, a large pine tree and foundation shrubs. The next photo is the controlled chaos 8 years later. You decide which you like better.
That's all for now. Next week I will write about dealing with winter storm damage on trees and shrubs. Happy gardening!

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