by germinatrix | April 25th, 2009
Those of you who used to read me over at the defunct Dominomag.com (they now re-direct people to Architectural Digest. Yeah, right… there’s some fresh, fun reading…) know that I have been threatening to re-do my front garden forever.
It isn’t that I don’t like what is happening there – I think it has some good stuff going on, actually – but I really want to get in there and rip it up and make a BIG change. Hmmm… I wonder if seeing Nick and Laura’s fabulous garden last weekend has anything to do with this itchiness?
No – I’ve always been like this. I’m a maniac when it comes to changing my garden. It is truly a victory that my outdoor spaces have been allowed to grow in at all, because for the first five years of working on them I must have re-done each space at least three times. No exaggeration. The back gravely seating area? A vegetable garden, then roses and perennials – now an aloe border. My vegetable beds? A Citrus grove, then a collection of Australian and South African plants. My side yard is in a constant state of flux … but it is the front that has suffered the most, being first space I experimented with.
You can still see bits of the front garden’s previous incarnations – The dark leaves of the Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, the Cordyline ‘Red Star’, and the Aeonium ‘Zwartkopf’ are from the Gothic Garden it was in the beginning. The Iceberg roses, The drapery of English ivy, the irises (which just popped up – aren’t they pretty?) and the Coleonema ‘Sunset Gold’ were from my flirtation with cottage gardening. The three golden Italian cypress were a reaction to someone from a visiting garden club telling me I didn’t have enough structure in my plantings (okay, that was a bit of an over-reaction, but that lady from San Fransisco was seriously intimidating). And then I fell in love with succulents, which caused a wholesale re-thinking how and what I planted. I don’t have much room, and the plants I love the most grow BIG!
But could I really make the kind of changes that I used to? I don’t think so. When I was a baby gardener, everything was possible; anything could be moved or given away … and there were so many new plants that I HAD to play with! If I didn’t have enough room, I’d just make more – dig up a tree, whatever! Now, my plants aren’t experiments or whims … they are more like friends. I can’t just uproot this community that has been patiently working with me for so long – that would be so bitchy! I need to make thoughtful adjustments. Like taking out those cypress and replacing them with Euphorbia ingens! Could you imagine having those tall candelabras of drama there instead!?! Yes!
Am I maturing as a gardener? As a person? Please. I certainly HOPE not!