This title could refer to many surpluses in life, overeating, overworking, overages of all sorts. Let us hone it down to garden surplus, garden art and geegaws to be more precise. Cute containers and metal sculptures, concrete creatures and ceramic birdhouses, stake finials and mossy birds, when does it exceed the limits of good taste or even rational thought?
Sitting in the lazyboy, tip tap typing the keyboard, the allure of the garden seen through the triple panes of the glass sliders in the addition calls out to us again and again. This view includes less than one third of the back garden, but since it is the numero uno place to gaze out and dream of … improvements! Sorry, that is the way my brain works, always in motion, always thinking of a better way to do things, always…always. There are to do lists in notebooks, scratch pads, index cards, there are email drafts that will never be sent, only updated, the newest way to keep track of those loose thoughts and ideas that pop up when relaxation allows the luxury of leaving the assigned task for a moment or two.
Combine the gazing, the hyperactivity with a love of crafts and what do you end up with but a myriad assortment of garden doodads, dohickeys and what some prefer to call art. There are purchases, gifts and do it yourself projects, all placed with loving tenderness on any patch of open ground. There is no end to it. Like the addition of plants, there can never be enough, but can there be too much?
Wooden objects like tobacco baskets, chairs and benches made from prunings, did you know Japanese privet is an incredibly dense wood?, become riddled with insect and water damage and return to the earth to enrich the soil. Metal and stone based materials are much longer lasting and can be made and remade into various shapes with various form and funtions. Copper wire in particular is prized and saved, hoarded for its usefulness to hold things to one another. Rusty wire fencing and reinforcing wire has been put to use as trelliage, tomato cages and anti-critter digging protection. Rebar and threaded metal bars make wonderful stakes for tall spindly plants and keeping lightweight art projects from blowing around in a stiff wind.
Containers are useful for growing special plants that otherwise might be lost, unnoticed or have special soil and/or watering needs. Colorful glazed pottery is our container of choice along with the hypertufa troughs of assorted shapes and sizes. These provide year around interest whether planted with evergreens, annuals or are left empty. They are the knick knacks of the out of doors. There are many pots, most of them blue, in the front and back gardens, semi-permanent additions to the property. And yet, whenever a nursery is visited there is one section that must always be perused, just in case there is yet another container on the shelf or better, hidden in some dark corner that will add just the right touch, fill a niche, meet a need. The above shot was taken at the 2008 Inaugural Garden Blogger Spring Fling in Austin, Texas at Natural Gardener Nursery.
The need for more is at the core. When is it enough, if ever? The acquisitiveness of youth has somewhat given way to the embrace of the less is more philosophy in all aspects of our lives except in the garden. Why is that? We have jettisoned posessions, furniture, clothing, even shoes in the effort to streamline. Our home was downsized, our life style simplified. Things have been eliminated left, right and center. But not in the garden. The garden is sacrosanct. Or is it?