The pursuit of imperfection

I subscribe to gardening magazines. I have shelves full of gardening books intended for coffee table display. I occasionally troll Pinterest for hours at a time. (Freaking infinite scroll – I can’t stop.) I have watched countless slideshow presentations. I sometimes attend garden tours and the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days. And I happen to work at a public garden that is held to a high standard of beauty and maintenance. Through these sources I discover all kinds of inspiration for my own garden but I also find discouragement and dissatisfaction.

wild disarray in the back border

My garden is not like any of those. It is not picture perfect. It’s not garden-tour-worthy. Compared to a magazine spread, it’s a wonky, weedy, wildly over-grown mess. If not for the constant (mostly self-inflicted) barrage of sublime, supertidy beauty, I wouldn’t care because I really do love it just as it is. And the bees, spiders, grasshoppers, hummingbirds (they’re still here!), woodchucks, bunnies, husbands, and dogs seem to think it’s pretty cool too.

Happy dog in the garden (photo by Z)

But I can’t help wishing that perfection didn’t have to enter into how we judge a garden’s beauty. After all, nature is wild. Unkempt. Imperfect. And so very gorgeous. I fully understand and usually succumb to the impulse to hide the weeds, mow the lawn, and rake the debris before taking a picture of the garden but what if we just took pictures of the garden we love, wonkiness and all? We could post them on blogs and Pinterest and submit them for magazine articles about whatever makes our garden especially awesome. Let’s engage in a gardening revolution: the pursuit of imperfection. Who’s (already) with me?

2 thoughts on “The pursuit of imperfection”

  1. Already with you girl!

    Wabi sabi principles aside, the glossy photos are capturing those gardens at just one moment in time, and no doubt there was much fuss and bother before the cameras arrived. Moments of perfection soon pass, and yet our gardens still love us, and promise us more vignettes if we keep looking. So in the early morning or as the afternoon light wanes, we walk about , with eyes open to catch more moments of zen.

    Well said, Kathy!! So true. -kris

  2. I’m with you, too! I’ve posted (and then replaced, in shame) pictures with giant weeds that I failed to notice. And then I berate myself for being not only a shoddy gardener but also a bad blogger who doesn’t even look at photos thoroughly before she posts. I need to cut myself a break.

    P.s. I guess the flip side is that I can celebrate the extra time I enjoy because I don’t ever bother to “process” my pictures?! (Seriously, it cracks me up when I see people post about how they have pictures but they can’t put them up until the processing is done. I barely post as it is. If I had to deal with processing pics every time…forget about it!)

    Kim, Too funny. I have stacks (what do we call them when they’re digital?) of accidental pictures of giant weeds! And now I’m with YOU. It’s high time to celebrate the exuberance of our gardens instead of feeling like slackers. (And then we should post those pics. Or not. Whatever.) -kris

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