Thursday, June 20, 2013

Midsummer, PHS and Making the Garden that Pleases You

Post 77

Happy Midsummer.

By now, if all has gone well, you will have finished the hard work of Spring-- planting, transplanting and weeding. For the next few months, if all goes well (and here's hoping it will,) you will be able to take a bit of a garden vacation. A little weeding, a bit more watering, some deadheading, this will be all you have to do till late September.

There is no getting around the fact that gardens take work, sometimes a great deal of work . And, if the owner  wants to be fully engaged with the garden, or if they are on the budget, they will do this work themselves.

Hence the pleasure of pausing with the sun for a rest.

To be motivated to do all this work, to want to do all this work, it is important that you  love your garden.  Somehow that makes the work easier. And the best way to love your garden is to make it the one you have always wanted, the garden that most pleases you. If you make your garden to please others or to meet some abstract idea of what a garden should be, you will end up resenting the work it entails. And your garden will suffer. It may remain perfect in a technical sense but it will lose the liveliness, the panache, that depends on personal engagement.

If you love your garden because it comes close to realizing your vision of beauty, the work will not be labor, it will be vocation or avocation. And so you will keep at it, even as  the garden changes.

The garden may rest for a bit, but it will never stop developing. Things will grow and things will die. Proportions will change.It will grow--and so will you.

Your vision, your style, will develop, and, as it does, over time, you will come to better understand how  much of it -- has come from other people.

Others whom you have loved, others whose visions and styles have excited and pleased you. You will be aware of being part of a greater stream, a tradition, a shared pursuit that includes past, present and future.

For me, this is a good time to pause and give thanks.

And here is one thing I am very thankful for. We are lucky to have the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS,) in our area  With its library, its webpage, its tree-tenders, green initiatives, City Gardens contest and more, it is a cornucopia of relevant gardening information, inspiration and delight. One of the main ways I learned about gardening is that I seeped myself in the vast collection of big beautiful garden books at PHS's McLean Library.

Which leads me to the happy news that this garden blog, Wissahickon Schist, has been included as a link in the "Good Reads" section of PHS's resource webpage for local gardening.Whoohoo. I am,as the English would say,  utterly "chuffed."

Happy Summer.

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