The Imperative of the Mundane

My greatest horticultural regret of 2012 was that I spent far too much time gardening, nearly thirteen thousand minutes all told, and so never got round to reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Regret yes, but resent? No, because somewhere over the course of those 2160 gardening hours, many of which spent in a wet ditch, I learned something. Something no kinky billionaire could ever beat into me – I learned that if you plant Pachysandra in waterlogged soil it goes yellow. Happy New Year everyone!

Not enough? O.K, well since we’re already sharing deeply personal moments of epiphany on the internet we might as well continue. So here, dear reader is the first of my horticultural insights of the year just gone; I shall expect yours in the comments.

I learned….  The Imperative of the Mundane

This year I realised that building a good garden is a lot like hosting a successful party – after laying on nutrients it’s all about filling the place up. It can be tempting to just invite fun-loving, loud-mouth  extroverts. Don’t. The few that do show up will clash horribly in the otherwise empty space, and no good party should end with its three sole guests fist-fighting in the utility room.

Instead what’s needed is a hefty contingent of nice, slightly dull but awfully reliable friends, among who carefully selected bon viveurs can flitter about looking good. Remember, success is all judged on Facebook these days, that filthy anecdote your old mate from uni just told won’t show up in a photo, but fifteen nice smiley girls from the office will.

And so for people as it is for plants. Cram em in, fill every corner! Let the bright and the beautiful do their thing in-front of an ever-dependable green backdrop.  Make this the year of the boring space-filling screening plants, the Aucuba, the Fatsia and the cherry laurel. A garden of chest-thumping Nerines is worthless if they are trying to show-off to a manky chain-link fence and a glimpse of the bypass.

More enlightenment from 2012 to follow shortly.

Extroverts and Aucubas

Extroverts and Aucubas



Categories: gardening, Style

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. How true! I learnt that however hard you work in the garden, the client will only really be impressed by “that lovely pot of yellow things” you put in front of their window.

  2. Brilliantly stated, as usual! Sigh! If only I had read this before revamping a modest shade border into the ‘Walk of Unusual Rarities!’ Oh yes, that is indeed not only the tagline foisted upon it, but imagine the gargantuan clash of egos that doth reside within it. I am still trying to pull the beloved Cypripediums off of one another!

  3. Very true – you need lots of good doers to hold the garden together and so the stars have something to sign against

  4. Well that’s very reassuring as I have 2 aucubas and 2 fatsias in a 5×7 m garden. The only thing is they say you should plant in 3s or 5s…

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