This week I rediscovered the 1979 movie Being There, with Peter Sellers. The simplicity and wisdom of his character “Chancey Gardener” reminded me of the importance of keeping your gardens, whether it be the design dedicated to the landscape or life in general “simple and sensible”. Of course this late 1970’s movie represented our pre-internet world…but I related many of Chancey’s expressions and their interpretations to the focus of my work today “sense and sustainability”.
You need strong roots to grow. In gardens, folks often overlook the importance of the “media” for growth. Without enriched soil, protected roots and the specific environment (sun, shade, dry, wet conditions) that particular plant will not flourish. Pretty simple advise…yet in our technology driven world today, we think we may have the power to manipulate to meet our immediate needs. But nature is nature….it trumps all the sophisticated information and technology in the world.
Balance in the gardens is needed. Yes there is the aggressive and the submissive, the tall, short, loud, soft, native and non native plants. Too much of one thing does not create the beauty, flow and sustainability we look for in gardens. I will never forget Mrs Loeb’s kindergarten checklist for success as students back in the 1960s. One entry on that checklist stands out above all as it relates to balance: “Works and plays well with others”. That is a good rule of thumb in gardens. That is why I choose to balance natives and “nativores” (my term for Mrs Loeb’s checklist of friendly plants) in the gardens. Extremism and self proclaimed expertise are easily found in today’s information highway of resources. So discernment and caution is a good rule of thumb when designing and choosing practices to achieve garden balance.
Seasons change. In our gardens we see the Eb and flow of growth. Spring offers us hope and new growth. Summer gives us abundant performances and activity for wildlife, The Fall reminds us it is time to slow down and visions of change on the way. And of course winter gardens offer protection and support to life during challenging weather as well as reminding us of the need for rest. Hmm…we should all take the lesson of nature’s seasons to heart. Chancy Gardener took that message to the late 1970s culture…a second look at that message to meet the needs of our fast paced 2014 may be a good thing.
This Fall our family garden is growing as we celebrate our oldest daughter’s wedding next week. So as we prepare for a change of season and strengthening our family roots, the Garden Goddess will be taking a week off to celebrate this new “garden of life” adventure. More gardening chat in 2 weeks 🙂