The Renegade Gardener – the one and only Don Engebretson – is at it again, compiling nuggets of wisdom for experienced and newbie gardeners alike. He says his criteria are that the blunders be common, be BIG and be blunders he’s made at least twice himself, but I bet that last bit is just an ice-breaker, a humble little prelude to the great pile of criticism Don’s about to dump on his readers. I say Don, bring it on; Americans need a little ice water in the face just to get their attention.
First and foremost, every one of these blunders deserves its places on the list – Bull’s Eye!! Now notice how many American landscaping mistakes are attitudinal (too small, too straight) and emotional (fear of large plants and of letting go, getting suckered, and possible addictions). And it seems to me they’re what happens when we’re cut off from Nature. If we’d all grown up in little English towns where everyone grew veggies and flowers, ya think we’d be planting swaths of turf and a row of foundation azaleas? Not likely. That’s why I love the Garden Walks that are changing neighborhoods and neighbors in cities like Buffalo and Chicago. People just need someone to teach them, and without having grown up in a gardening culture, they need neighbors to encourage and inspire them.
And about the Great Dumbing Down of American Gardening that Don’s so pissed off about, did it really only begin 10 years ago?
Finally, number 3 on the list is a blunder of omission – not using enough nonplant items like pots and furniture and hardscape. Agreed, but doesn’t seating itself deserve special mention? As a proselytizer for the salutary effects of sitting in the garden, I venture to suggest that people who sit regularly in their gardens A, enjoy them more and B, have gardens with fewer blunders (eventually).
They’re all here – 10 plus Bonuses. Discuss among yourselves.[Photos: Thomas Hobbs’ Vancouver garden, by Engebretson; and plan showing too much turf.]