Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Point in Being Sensible

There's always inspiration and support on the Internet for gardeners, isn't there?  In a recent post on GardenWeb, a poster asked about extending their garden into a neighboring vacant plot of land with a near-vertical incline and the response by a reader named "catsrose" on 12/15/10, was to "Go for it. If it works it will be gorgeous and if it doesn't the goats can have it.  There is no point in being sensible about this sort of thing." 

What an absolutely great sentiment!  "No point in being sensible about this sort of thing" salves the conflicts we feel about so many of the enthusiasms we gardeners constantly get side-tracked into.  You've got 649 concrete rabbit statues in your 0.7 acre garden?  Who cares if that is a sensible number as long as you're happy?  Your back yard is impossible to navigate because of the overgrowth of 35 massive species roses hanging over the pathways and snagging everything in sight?  What could possibly not be sensible about having 35 fabulous specimens of the rose clan and even adding the 36th or 37th or the hundredth?  Traveling next summer to Nepal to pursue that mythical blue poppy species that will survive tropical heat as well as mountainous cold?  No lack of sensibility there since such a specimen is the dream of all who belong to the Meconopsis-less clan.  The last example, alas, may indicate that the gardener, however sensible, has taken a step towards living in a dream world since the desert climate Meconopsis sp. only exists on the planet Sirius Beta 3. 

Requiring sensibility, in a garden or in the gardener, drives out all the passion and love of gardening and makes the garden a boring place.   I, myself, should probably heed the advice and make a point of being a little less sensible about my garden.  Why shouldn't I create a nice water feature in my Kansas landscape, despite my arguments about wanton water usage being a little out of character for the Flint Hills?  As a compromise, even a dry, faux creek bed might make an interesting addition.  Why shouldn't I start working on a nice stone wall around the vegetable garden with the primary goal of being able to place several espaliered fruit trees up against it?  Such a project might indeed take years and involve some back-breaking labor, but why be sensible about it?  And lastly, why, pray tell me, does Mrs. ProfessorRoush think that the cement head pictured above, is creepy and disturbing rather than an interesting focal point in my garden?  Can't she be sensible about it?


  1. A most enjoyable post.
    Gardening, like other creative hobbies, is not about being sensible but about being passionate.

  2. Catsrose is a friend of mine, and I can absolutely imagine her uttering exactly those words! True gardeners are NOT sensible ... sensibility is left for landscapers and resale. GARDENERS follow their imaginations and build follies and imitation miniature civilizations within the confines of their property. I KNOW my own garden is far from sensible, but it certainly is a delight.

  3. This struck a chord with me. I am crazy for lilies and I planted 25 new ones this fall eventhough I may have to move from this garden next year. If I'd listened to the sensible voice, it would've advised against spending the money, etc. But who knows, I may stay in this house and if so, I want to enjoy the lilies next summer. Best, Jane

  4. Just stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas - thanks so much for sharing your love of gardening with us fortunate enough to have found your great blog.
    God Bless and have a safe holiday,


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