Aug 15, 2008

The Rude Garden

In the grocery store today, I overheard a mother say sternly to her young, spirited child who was enjoying the store's music as only young, spirited children can: "Spencer, stop dancing. This isn't dance class. You don't see anyone else dancing, do you?"

How often do you hear that same voice in your own head? Does it keep you from having a garden that's truly yours? Does your front yard not sing or dance because none of your neighbors' does? Or maybe you had an idea for a feature you'd really enjoy in your back yard, but abandoned the thought because you've never seen it anywhere else before?

As a living system, the garden is one big experiment, and it will evolve regardless of how much or how little we're involved. Our landscape is "ours" for a relatively fleeting moment in time. So why not make the most of our short visit? Go ahead, wield your hand — try colors, combinations, specimens, and features that truly delight you. The worst that can happen, really, is that others might think your garden dramatic, eccentric, or even downright rude. Can you imagine? You could be "that garden" of whispers and legend. The "dangerous" one. The one that says to your neighborhood, "I live here."

If the very idea thrills you a little bit, you've got some work to do. I'm no therapist but there's no question that gardens, and gardening, can be therapeutic. Wouldn't it be great to dance again, like a young, spirited child?

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