Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Gardens are Reflections of Ourselves

I think whether we are aware of it or not, our gardens are a reflection of who we are. Every garden has a story, just like every gardener has a story. Maybe someday I will tell my garden story, the hows and whys I started gardening, but that’s really personal to me. I definitely think my garden tells something about my personality. For instance, I like borders. I have borders on every bed. My flower garden has a border of rectangular stones, my kitchen garden has a border of bricks. Yet I feel like my planting style, at least in the flower garden, is more relaxed and free-form. It’s very un-planned, unlike my kitchen garden when is very, very planned, from when I first started it, to every season when I decide what I will plant where. I have some clipped boxwood here and there, but I also have plenty of un-pruned, un-tamed plants. What does all that say about me? I guess it says that I like having control, but I also like my freedom and don’t want anyone telling me what to do.

I like visiting other people’s gardens. I get ideas from them and it’s also a glimpse into that person’s personality. It’s like snooping around their house or looking in their medicine cabinet. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has some events each year where you can tour private gardens. I usually do that, or this year I toured some private gardens through The Garden Conservancy Open Days program. Often, these garden tours are like seeing how the other half lives — expensive houses with expensive landscaping. If you have a landscaper do your yard then it doesn’t say much about you, unless maybe you helped plan it. To me, that’s kind of cheating — putting your house on a garden tour when you really had nothing to do with it. However, I think some people at least do some of the planting themselves, as well as maintenance. That’s at least putting a little bit of themselves into their garden. 

Lately, I’ve been doing some reflecting on where I’ve been and where I want to go from here. Would I change anything about my past? Some things no, but some things yes. However, would I be the same person I am today if I had done things differently? Probably not, just like my garden wouldn’t be the same garden I have today if I had moved things or planted different things. I am at a point where I’m fairly satisfied with my garden areas, in general. I finally got rid of all the overgrown areas and there’s a certain amount of logic, reason and beauty in the yard. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes get the urge to rip it all out and start all over again — make a big change, make it totally different.

Contradictions. It’s in me and it’s in my garden. What’s in YOUR garden?

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