As I finish potting up bulbs against the winter, rejoicing in the new space for it I have now that I’m using the attic, it occurred to me that the effort to do more, to go beyond the perceived limits, is my favorite thing about gardening and it’s also why I don’t like certain types of gardening and certain gardening companies. If all I had to do was to watch over a lawn and some foundation shrubs, I’d be really depressed. The work involved would be so negative—always about cutting down, clipping back, killing bugs and weeds … mainly stopping things from happening and responding to perceived threats. It’s gardening by paranoia. In fact, I went on the Scotts site just now and found out about a lawn condition I’d never heard about before—“snow mold.” It’s always something.
And now Scotts Miracle-Gro has announced a new subsidiary company, Hawthorne, that is supposed to attract younger, urban consumers. The products are meant to cater to those who don’t do much lawn care, but still want “to live happier, healthier lives through gardening.” I guess, except for the “younger” part, that would be me. However, one of the two major brands that the new company is launching with is Aerogarden, those little George Foremans for plants. And once again, we’re back to the limitations, niche marketing that assumes that urban/small space customers want to garden in the most minimal sense of the word possible.
Most people consider my garden to be pretty small, but in my head it’s just the same as Sissinghurst or Hidcote, at least in terms of what I’d like to do with it. If I want to grow 9-feet-high native meadowland plants in a patio-sized plot, I can, and do. It’s nothing that any designer looking at my particular niche would advise. But it’s possible, and to me, gardening is about nothing less.