Do we become more tolerant of the multiple problems and imperfections in our gardens, or less so? It is certainly the former with me. These days, as long as the ground is more or less covered and something smells nice, I’m happy. These days, just sitting on the steps next to the jasmine (whose winter defoliation I am tolerating) can be enough. I can see the weeds, the various perennials that seem to be faltering, and the inexplicable/unfortunate planting decisions I’ve made over the years, but it just doesn’t bother me that much.
The list of issues I’ve become willing to overlook has grown gradually. There’s more than I can remember to include here.
•Weeds. These are generally allowed to flourish unseen until I happen to notice them and pull enough out so that they become less noticeable. I don’t go nuts trying to get every little piece of root.
•Pruning. I don’t like it. I do cut away the dead branches of my roses.
•Insects and diseases. Oh the joy of embracing the no-spray movement. When I first started out I really thought you had to buy the treatments sold at the garden center. I know better now.
•Plant dividing. I have actually never done this, except inadvertently when moving a plant.
•Cutting back and deadheading. I have a hard time remembering what’s supposed to be cut back, but I do cut back spent blooms if they’re unsightly.
•Hoeing. I don’t have one. I am not sure what I’d do with it if I did.
•Planning and design. This never really happened, as I was fortunate enough to inherit a courtyard space where the beds were already laid out.
There are some things that even I can’t avoid. The pond has to be cleaned, the roses do benefit from at least a springtime fertilization, and I throw compost and mulch down when I can get to it. New things have to be planted when old things die or don’t work anymore, and I love anything to do with bulbs—and that’s work.
Otherwise, I’m beginning to forget there was a time when I spent most of my time in the garden working on the garden. It helps of course that I am not a food grower. What’s your experience? Do you find that you relax your vigilance with time, or increase it?