Thank you, Pamela Lord!


This came to us by way of the Old House Gardens newsletter, which is well worth subscribing to:

I’m tired of hearing so much about maintenance-free gardens. If you aren’t going to get out there and live with it, including take care of it, then what’s the point of gardening anyway?

–Pamela Lord (American garden writer, founder of the Garden Book Club)

Pamela, we here at GardenRant could not agree more.  "Garden" is a verb.  It’s a thing you do.  It’s the relationship you have with the plant kingdom where you live.  A garden is something you have to get tangled up in and hack away at.

A no-maintenance car?  Fine.  A no-maintenance haircut?  Yeah, that’s not a bad idea.  But a no-maintenance garden?  That’s just window dressing.  We’ll pass.


  1. OK, hold on a minute. There is such thing as prioritizing. I try to keep my front yard as low-maintenance as possible so that I can spend more time working in my back yard. The back yard is a bit more private and relaxing and I just enjoy it more. The front yard IS window dressing, more or less, and that suits me fine (at least for now). I’ve seen people put a lot of time into their back yards and let the front yards go all to hell (and vice versa). Frankly, I’d like to see them grasp the concept of low-maintenance (no-maintenance is a myth) gardening so the rest of the world doesn’t have to look at their nasty, weed-filled yards (which, by the way, send lots of weed seeds into our yards).

  2. You guys really ought to get to know Sonia Day, a Canadian gardening writer whose rants appear in every issue of Canadian Gardening. She shares your optics on so many things and is dedicated to skewering hortisnobs and promoting real, get-your-hands-dirty gardening. If you can get your hands on some back issues, you’d be thrilled to encounter a kindred spirit.

  3. Everyone complains they can’t get motivated to exercise. Gardening is great exercise. And what better motivation than the best yard on the block after your “workout”?

  4. Preach it, oh Garden Ranters! Maintenance-free gardens are; lawn (maintained by a contractor) edged with flax, dietes and boring grasses. The occasional palm will spring into place but there is no creativity and certainly no originality.

    These ‘gardeners’ are the same ones that buy silk flowers to decorate their living areas.

    Here’s a tip – pour concrete. Even that’s not maintenance free but it is the closest thing you will get to it.

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