So now that Billy’s a blogger and a GardenRant reader, let’s welcome this new voice from California. We temperate zone gardeners sometimes forget that not all gardens are like ours and I expect Billy to start reminding us of that.
To get the ball rolling, check out the post “Soil Amendment or Work with Nature?“ where he has this to say about recommendations to “dump lots and lots of organic material” on our gardens:
But what about designing with nature and not pushing uphill to work
against it? Why pay good money to add stuff to the soil, then rototill
until the natural, living web of life that makes up soil is disturbed?
And he refers to soil amendments as “life support.” So, what’s a big mulcher to do? This mulcher-composter contacted him in defense of soil amendments, protesting that our crappy, disturbed soil needs restoration! That didn’t phase him. So, all you proponents
of organic matter, help me out. Like our Great Compost Tea Debate, is there an Organic Matter Debate, or is this just a regional difference? This is firescaping country, after all. Yeah, I just learned that word.
Then his post “Saturday Morning Syndrome” rang completely true with me. On Saturday mornings garden centers are full of shoppers buying whatever plants happen to be featured in their blooming glory. They then go home and try to figure out where to stick ’em. Unfortunately, “stick ’em somewhere” is the primary design principle at work. He advises shoppers to stop before handing over their Visa cards and remember to: research each plant before buying it, visualize exactly where it’ll go, know what function it’ll serve in the
garden, remember year-round interest and the importance of contrast in garden design, and so on.
It’s sure as hell true that people LOVE buying plants on impulse, and garden centers are very good at encouraging that behavior. So Billy, how’s that advice working out? I need to know because my advice to clients – make a list of the plants your garden really NEEDS and then be strong – seems to work about as well as my own good intentions to resist the cases of fresh donuts at the local Giant.