Monday, April 13, 2009

So What's the Big Idea?

I'm not telling. Not today, anyway. But take a good look at these photos, and them imagine the planters overflowing with tomatoes, squash, greens, AND flowers. Imagine that nice big green space against the building with fruit trees and blueberries. Imagine a public place where the public feels free to graze, content that no pesticides need to be washed off before popping a ripe cherry tomato in their mouth.
Thanks again to GardenRant for confirming this direction. I'm already off and running to make it happen, but their blog today on organic gardens at the White House and USDA buildings, and the 'greening' of the grounds of the General Services Administration on the National Mall, are proving to me that there is a major shift going on in how people look at the food they eat, and this idea can be BIG! VERY BIG! I can do this! I will do this! Get on with it!

Friday, April 10, 2009


This was Good Friday from the moment I woke up til - now, at 11:40 pm, thinking back over the day.
I love going to the farm. Lovely, giving, kind-spirited people live there, and so on holy days, or thereabout, I seek their space.
We've steadily been adding compost from the horses to the beds before mulching, and the flowers we've planted are really beginning to show their appreciation. I'm especially happy about a couple of asters I transplanted, though one is full of buds and the other is not showing any sign of wanting to bloom. At least they both look happy.
The cleyara hedge Brooks has been working on is bright with new growth, and I'm encouraging him to let it grow a little taller this year. The Indian hawthorne 'Elizabeth' that has given Homeowners such fits with its skimpy branches and spotted leaves is in full, and pretty glorious, bloom, though the blooms look to me much more white than pink. I'll be cutting those back hard after they finish blooming, but with the rich compost I have to offer, I think they will recover better than ever.
Even the weeds are beautiful today. I'm taking a break from the incessant weeding in honor of their right to show off for a few days.
The air is clean and not too hot, the sky is bright blue, and there is promise and hope everywhere.

A Work In Progress

Who am I kidding? I'd like to be a Really Great Something but instead am a humble servant of the land.
Being called a landscaper, well, irks me. In my narrow view, landscapers come in, plant plants, and move on to the next job. So often homeowners buy a house where the landscaping was 'installed' the day before closing. Like newborns, these newly transplanted plants need attention, but who has time to think about that when you've just moved in to a new house, which often means a new mortgage/job/location/babysitter/ get the picture. When a builder's funds are tied to having 'something' in the ground in time for closing, no one's needs are really met but the bank's.
Or Homeowner wants to change the look of his landscape, hires the experts, and doesn't ever call them back because they charged enough to make more than one trip out there.
Or, Homeowner hires one of the landscaper's employees (who runs a side business doing tree work/lawn mowing/pressure washing) 'on the side', only they don't really know what they are doing and Homeowner ends up with more problems than he started with.
Call me a gardener, 'cause I come back. I deeply believe gardening to be an ongoing experience, developed, replaced, and maintained over the ages, and one thing I can say for myself is that I have at least started or added to many, many gardens. Even though I left some of them behind I remember them all, and hope someone like me has followed up to weed, water, and add compost.

Some people think plants are disposable, to be ripped out within a space of time and replaced with something currently faddish. I believe a plant, carefully selected and properly placed, should be allowed to live out in its entirety, like a puppy brought home from the pound. I design a space with eventual grandchildren in mind, a garden of continuity, one that improves with age. That doesn't mean everything has to stay where I plant it. Move things until they're happy, but please do be mindful about it.