Why Your Garden Design Is Perfect For You

Many beginner gardeners think there’s a magic way to landscape their property, a key to garden design success that, when learned, will give them an instantly magical garden.
And they search for this silver bullet of garden success, getting more and more frustrated that their gardens don’t ever live up the the expectations created online and in magazines.
I confess I sometimes get all bent out of shape when I look at my garden. It’s different in my imagination than it is in reality. And even when other folks say it’s nice, I disagree. The garden design is not the way it “should” be.
Then I remind myself that “I should not should upon myself” 🙂

There Is No Royal Road

The important point in the image above is the last. There is no royal road or clean-cut path to making a garden. It’s a meandering pathway, sometimes forward and sometimes doubling back onto itself.
We all struggle with the same problems and we never meet the expectations in our head created by the artificial garden photography (ever hear of photoshop?) in garden magazines and the Net. I’ve written before of the amount of work that goes into creating those gorgeous shots for magazines and broadcast shows.
I struggle for sure. Heck, I’m supposed to have a great garden because I’m a garden writer. I put all this pressure on myself and sometimes it becomes too much.

A Real Life Example

Let me tell you a short story. When I was filming the video series for Craftsy, one segment involved me talking about trench composting. I was supposed to dump the bucket of kitchen vegetable scraps into the trench I’d just finished digging and the cameraman would zoom into the trench to show you the compost.
I did the little speech, then dumped the compost into the trench.
The cameraman then stopped shooting. Got down on his knees to arrange the compost in the trench so it was color-coordinated better and laid out in a much more even distribution along a shorter length of trench.
This better color combination and shorter distribution made a better picture than me just dumping the compost into a hole in the ground.
Seriously. The compost was arranged in the trench.
And this is the kind of thing that happens in a garden shoot to make things look good.

I don’t have a picture of the crew arranging the compost but between the cameraman on the step ladder getting a shot and the lighting person on the roof creating a shadow for me, they created a very different image than what our eye would see in real life.

A Garden Is An Individual Work Of Art

  • My garden is a work of art.
  • It’s a work in progress.
  • It reflects my own journey in life – sometimes forward and sometimes not – but always changing.
  • Always moving.
  • When I’m happy with myself, the garden begins to change and reflect that. When I’m not, it also changes.

I see these things. Others may not.
But that’s why, on good days and on bad ones, it’s my garden. But there’s never a really easy road forward. Wilson has it right.

3 thoughts on “Why Your Garden Design Is Perfect For You”

  1. I have swapped out plants, moved bushes and have finally come to the conclusion that gardening is a perpetual motion activity. While my bushes and trees form the backbone of my beds the rest is up for grabs when it comes to moving! Will it ever be perfect – probably not but I have relaxed enough to enjoy the results and replan the next years moves.

  2. A garden is never finished until the gardener who tends it lovingly is “finished” … and what is left behind is a final reflection of that person’s state of mind at the end of this life. I am in year 29 of my five-year plan for my garden and I am still fine-tuning its identity. A garden is a journey that it and its keeper take together, for better or worse … sort of like a marriage, I guess … it is important to inject some excitement for time to time to keep the romance alive!

  3. I am working fiercely this August to make 90 some transplants to completely revamp some areas. My reasons are that some plants need more sun, some less sun, some areas need more color, some colors are clashing, some plants are being hidden by taller plants, etc. I would like to get it all done by Fall so that over winter I can just dream about how great it will look the next summer. But, of course, I will be out there working hard again next season. What else could make me feel so good! I am 73 years old and my gardens are not only great for my bones but also for my state of mind. My husband keeps asking if I will ever be done. I can only hope that the answer will always be no.

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