Sometimes while reading articles or posts about gardening there is a topic mentioned that makes me cringe. It gives me the shivers, upsets my stomach, turns up the heat on the blood boiling burner. Well, maybe that last one is an exaggeration, but just by a tiny bit.
Home gardening is such a singularly unique activity, done according to the rules of the location and terrain, soil structure, chemical makeup, you know the list. Also, the amount of time that the gardener has to devote to planting and maintenance varies wildly for reasons beyond their control.
What is planted and how it is tended is not a whim, changed each season like the hemline of a skirt. It is a constant, ruled by the very personal feelings and desires of the one doing the planting and tending. What will grow, what is available, what inspiration has caused the direction of a plot depends not on what some writer or business has declared to be the in thing at any given moment.
This is not the same as professionals chosing a plant of the year, one that might or might not do well in your garden. I have tried those and have had some successes and some failures. Growing something is not the same as buying a dress off the rack.
I do understand that sometimes these articles are an attempt at a broader readership. Folks like to read lists, the top five thises, or the ten worst thats. People who might only buy a hanging basket of Boston fern for their porches each year, and I have nothing against that, those ferns are lovely and if growing them gives anyone pleasure, I will be the first to cheer them on, might decide to read an article about the latest gardening trend for 2012. But I, personally don’t want to read such a thing. I almost called it drivel, but that would be way too harsh. Almost.
Might I suggest instead to those in charge of such things, to write about something I consider more helpful, like how to adjust your gardens to the changing weather conditions, be they more xeric or warmer than how it has been in the past. (In full disclosure, I have written three articles for magazines, none of them about trends, btw). Or write about growing natives, or bring to the attention of the gardening public some little used but wonderful plant families, like Sanguisorbas, S. ‘Tanna’ above. Or write about growing vegetables in large felt bags. (I am trying that one this year, post to come when the results are in.)
The point, if there is one to this little tirade, is that all gardeners, but especially newbies need achievable goals. It can be discouraging to think that the garden one just planted of all pink and blue flowers is hopelessly out of fashion, please don’t use that word about gardening or I shall need to lie down and close my eyes for a moment, because the color this year is orange. And I love orange! Be true to yourself, plant what you love and what will grow for you, even if it might be considered by some to be so ten minutes, or is it now ten seconds?, ago.