Bear with me a minute while I try to work out whether I garden because my garden needs me or because I need to garden. To garden or not to garden is the question. Sort of. (Not really.) But I just spent a week in a full-bloom place where I wouldn’t dream of gardening. I had forgotten just how diverse and spectacular the plant life is on the island shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario. I could have spent the whole time cataloging rose, meadowsweet spirea, bunches of grasses, sumac, cardinal flower, mosses, ferns, lichens (bright orange!), chives, shad bush, chokecherry, beeches and wind whipped pines. Everything planted by wind and opportunity in rock pockets and more spectacularly designed than any LA’s dreamiest dream. I wouldn’t want to mess with any of it. But I had to wonder, if I was there longer than a week or two – say if I lived there for a whole season, would I feel the urge to edit? To add anything? To prune a little? Would the landscape be improved by my ministrations? I answer a resounding NO! to the last rhetorical question – but I would have loved to use snips on the thicket of dead twigs in the wild rose bushes and a few edibles in a raised bed or containers wouldn’t wreck the gestalt, would it? And can’t help but wonder what my own landscape would look like if it had always been left to its own devices. What if the invasive ornamentals like bittersweet, multiflora rose, Norway maples and goutweed had never been introduced? What lovely forest would surround my house? Would I, could I leave it alone? Since the milk was spilled though and the forest was cleared, I figure I pretty much have to tend my garden.
But evidently it grows quite well without me too. In one tiny week, everything that hadn’t even been close to blooming (or so I thought) opened up. I didn’t need to be here at all for everyone to get on with the business of growing.
The weeds also grew gangbusters and so did the Late Blight on the tomatoes and I guess that’s where I come in handy. My garden needs me after all which works out pretty well since I guess I need to garden too.
And it’s so nice to know I’m not alone. A little detour on the long drive to Curly Rocks brought me to the most beautiful garden in Slaterville Springs, NY where Nino had a chance to cavort with his new best Buddy, Z got to talk bikes! with Chris and I got to bask in the gracious company of a favorite fellow plantaholic. Thank you, Lynn – garden on!