Music in the Garden – a Year Later


Now sitting at the computer is something
else again.  Yes, I could just stick a CD in my E drive and listen, if
I owned any CDs I actually want to listen to. Since I don’t, I’ve been
listening to XM Radio via the Internet – until I fell in love with
something new.  A friend recently turned me on to
and once again I find myself gushing.  It’s a free site that plays
exactly the type of music you like, which it knows because you give it
a few hints – a song or artist you like.  You create a "station" built
around, say, the Dixie Chicks. Then Pandora suggests more songs by
similar artists, people you’ve never heard of.  You
tell it whether or not you like each song they try, so your stations
just get better and better, as defined by how much YOU like it.  My
friend’s wife thinks it’s all "data-mining," certainly for some deeply
capitalist purpose, but I’d rather just listen and not worry about

AlisonPandora’s stations are created using the research findings of the Music Genome Project,
in which musical connections are found based not on genre but by how
each individual song sounds – the instrumentation, the vocal qualities,
the lyrics, and so on.  My gut says no, no, no – that much analysis of
music CAN’T be a good thing.  Reminds me of the sophisticated (and
creepy) techniques used by Muzak to manipulate us while we shop and
ride elevators.  But then again, I created
a station called Alison Krauss and right off the bat it
played some guy named Tony Fortadoand
bam, I’m in love again.  And since I’m already at my computer, I
can click on the song I’m hearing and learn everything I want to know
about this bango player I’ve just fallen for.  VERY COOL. 


  1. What’s wrong with playing music in the garden? I play jazz (bebop, hard bop and-especially-Brazilian jazz). Not all the time, but sometimes.

    And for an urban gardener, it’s not like you’re intruding on the pristine sounds of nature. There are plenty of other sounds, and they ain’t so pristine.

    I play music during Garden Walk–it adds to the festive atmosphere. The walkers love it. Nothing says summer in the garden like Jobim. Well, scratch that, nothing says summer in the garden like Jobim and a martini.

  2. I wrote a post in March on this subject but in the context of the garden center. While I don’t generally listen to music in my garden at home I do play jazz,classical, and Latin jazz at the nursery. It helps to set the mood here. Jazz and Classical are played so little at retail businesses that it’s different enough to be noticed and we hear “I just love your music”.

    The music along with the waterfalls help to mask noise from the street out front and we become an oasis of calm.

  3. I remember that discussion. And now that I’ve joined the ranks of endurance athletes (half marathons and marathons), I’ve discovered that runners and walkers have the same heated debate. To go natural or to listen to music.

    And I listen to music when I garden for the same reason I listen to it when I walk for 2-3 hours straight. It’s hard work and it’s hot and I’ll use any trick in the book to keep it fun in spite of that, and to stay pumped up and focused. I find it makes me more creative in the garden as well. I get in the groove and think a little more freely. I get bolder in my decisions. I did a wonderful revamping of my front garden this weekend with everything from Beyonce’ to Willie Nelson pumping from my ipod into my little boom box. And since I live (and walk and garden) in a pretty urban area, I’m not killing nature for anyone. Maybe they don’t love every song I choose, but my mix is so varied, it shouldn’t be too annoying for anyone for too long.

    I dunno. It’s a very personal decision and I figure whatever gets you out there with your hands in the dirt is probably a good thing.

  4. I don’t care for music in the garden, especially not someone else’s music drifting over the fence. I live in an urban area too, and while I love the sound of water to drown out road noise, music is a personal taste—too personal to force your gardening or lounging neighbors to listen to. That’s why there are headphones.

  5. I’ve taken to getting an extension cord and dragging my iPod docking station out into the garden – where I stick it on shuffle and listen to all sorts of things. Often, when planting – I generally don’t listen to music. But if I’m just getting rid of that damned florida betony in large sections of my garden, music definitely helps me out. And I love Pandora too.

  6. I dislike music in the garden when I’m working…one reason I’m out there is I can’t sit still long enough to do any good meditating…but mindless cleanup or digging chores work great for allowing me to take the edge off my manic mind. I also live in an urban area and while I might enjoy some of the music I hear over the fence I don’t like having to listen to it when I’m trying to focus elsewhere.

  7. I don’t listen to music a lot in my garden. Mostly it’s the songs of the birds I’m listening to. But once in a while I play classical music such as Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons or other music by him. But more often, on a beautiful summer’s day, I play Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite “Morning Mood” real loud and neighbours be d*mned. So far, my neighours have not complained, they seem to like it, as I do a lot! 🙂

  8. I’m with Pam/Digging and Leslie, we urban gardeners are bombarded with enough noise from street traffic blasting radios that we don’t need more adding to the din.
    Dare I bring up the whine pf gas-powered mowers and blowers again? If THEY could be drowned out by music – I’d be all for it – but unfortunately they cut through anything with their headache-inducing shrill.

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