Now that the Blog Action Day professions are done, I feel it’s time to come clean about being green. After all is said and done, I am a gardener first, environmentalist second. When I started cultivating my garden eight years ago, I didn’t do it to save the planet and that’s still not my priority. Over the years, I did learn that there wasn’t an overpriced chemical in the garden center that would transform scraggly, underperforming roses into centerfold shots. I instinctively knew enough to refuse the “fertilization treatment” our predecessors had had on permanent order, and I quickly figured out that the areas where I had been told “nothing would grow” would respond to some cultivation and additions to the hard-packed soil and some tough groundcovers. But every garden presents its own special problems, many of which make it impossible to garden in as environmentally responsible a manner as one would like. So here of some of the bad things I did this season and I figure I’ll be doing again next season.
I watered—a lot
I can’t stand the look of a limp, wilted perennial, and I won’t tolerate drooping container annuals. For the containers, this defeats the whole purpose, as they are meant to provide vibrant color and texture during the downtimes of the perennial garden, as well as provide a refuge for plants my often-inhospitable native earth will not sustain. Where tree roots and shade prevail as much as they do on my urban lot, containers are a godsend. But they demand regular, often daily, watering and they get it. I could probably water a lot less in the rest of the garden, but I’d have to steel myself to the look of a thirsty h. macrophylla (one that has served me long and well) and a bunch of miserable ground covers where the tree roots prevail. I have a feeling the water will continue to flow and I’ll still look incredulously at my fellow ranters when they say they never—never!—water.
I’ve been known to use some … product
Just for the containers. They must give lush, abundant color, impressive foliage and continual rebloom—some water-soluble stuff helps them keep them doing that through mid-October. These are one-season-only annuals for the most part. Fortunately, there are now earth-friendly alternatives to the ones I used to use.
Nothing edible here
I can’t spare the room. I want a garden that looks—and smells—fabulous in mid-summer, and most of the veggie crops I see don’t provide either of those elements. Most edible crops need more sun than I can give them, but that’s not really the reason. I don’t like growing vegetables. I love flowers. Herbs are OK, but when it comes right down to it, I resent the space they take when I could have a big lily or dahlia there instead. We’ll never live off our land, but there are plenty of fulltime farmers nearby who need our support—so that’s fine.
To be honest, even the fact I don’t grow grass is accidental, but I’m glad it’s not there. More room for the fancier stuff.
Am I the only bad one? I doubt it, but writing this blog and reading all the others has inspired me to do better. Next year.
I have Susan to thank for “ornamentalist.” Apparently, this is what the hardcore urban farmers call us flower-growers.