Calling All Gardeners
Does your garden look like this?
No? How about this?
No? What a relief.
Very few of us could ever aspire to anything like the lush and elaborate gardens of L.A.'s Getty Center and London's Hyde Park. I loved visiting both, but as beautiful as they may be, they are, like most public gardens, of limited utility to a galloping horse gardener like me. All I ever seem to learn from public gardens is that mine would look a lot better if I had a grounds crew.
The same goes for those picture-perfect private gardens featured in newspapers and magazines. Fine Gardening and Horticulture are fun to read, but they need to go easy on the stories about how some homeowner transformed a miserable, barren swath of land into a showplace. Inevitably, the enterprising homeowner turns out to be a Wall Street baron or a celebrity designer with a historic home on five acres. What on earth am I supposed to take away from this, except that having $100,000 to spend on landscape design would do wonders for my yard?
The truth is, the experiences of real-life gardeners are far more relevant. They help you see what is possible back here on the planet Earth, where gardeners have jobs, small children, and needy dogs, not to mention poor soil, money issues, and bad knees.
In that spirit, this month I am introducing Guest Gardens, which highlights the real-life gardens of Galloping Horse Garden readers. The debut feature is a look at my mother's garden in White Plains, New York - the standard by which I judge my own garden (and find it wanting). In her garden, I discovered my favorite flowers. In mine, I killed them. It seems that Cary is a bit hotter than White Plains.
Please share your pictures, and your tales of triumph or tragedy. Both would be instructive, I'm sure.
10/3/2012 12:50:13 am
I enjoyed the pictures of "Judy's garden" (which I believe was the site of three weddings, not two). Part of her perfectionism was to keep careful notebooks during the gardening season so she could record how the different plants did and make adjustments for the next year. There were very few tasks she felt daunted by--she rototilled the vegetable area every year before planting, for instance, and if her books didn't answer the question of why some plant was dying or how to get rid of some beetle, she got on the phone with the county agricultural agent. I admired and was awed by her approach but would never dream of trying to emulate it.
Visiting on the advice of Jean's Garden-Jean recommended my blog in October (thanks Jean). My thoughts exactly! I also tire of seeing those gardens in magazines, then finding out that they have a staff and large bankroll to support their "gardening" habits and their lawn chemical addiction. I love to see real gardens like mine, but there are not a lot of publications that want to see them. I guess they would rather have readers live in a fantasy world.
11/12/2012 01:58:14 am
Thanks so much, Sandi. I just visited your blog and now I want to visit your B&B! Not only is your garden is gorgeous, but those desserts look amazing. The biscookies are an inspired idea.
11/14/2012 08:00:17 pm
Sadly my main gardening inspiration is my grandmother's old garden at the family farm. Huge trees, a hazel coppice, mature shrubs and a vegetable garden so vast that instead of digging it in autumn my grandfather used a tractor and a harrow... (Also, she was a stay-at-home wife, so once the kids were out of the way there was plenty of time for the garden.) This is a rather difficult look to pull off in a garden smaller than my grandmother's vegetable garden and which I only get to see on weekends...
11/14/2012 10:45:52 pm
I agree - gardening is all about the dream, which seldom measures up to the reality. But it's fun trying to get there.
11/16/2012 04:27:04 am
Well, my blog's name probably sounds less energetic than yours, but the gist is the same; to enjoy what's pretty and not fuss too much about the rest. (Though I sometimes fail at the latter and end up fussing an awful lot about stuff that I should just let be...)
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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