Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Don't be afraid to change; change is a constant in the garden

The hammock stand is dead.  Long live the hammock.
A garden is not permanent.  Plants grow, they die, and your interests and needs change.  Fortunately change can come easily in the garden- your landscaping does not have to be forever. The notion of permanence often paralyzes people into never beginning. But in a garden, if you make a mistake or things don’t work out like you expected them, you can change it!  I know this from experience.  You can move plants, compost them, give them away, etc… It is much easier to remove your landscaping than remove a room inside your house!

This new change in the garden is an example of a few things my wife and I often tell our garden coaching clients:

Write down what you need in your garden, and you will incorporate it appropriately. Whether it is canoe storage, bike storage, a raft, chickens, no matter what use, acknowledge that it has a place (and it deserves a place) and you can integrate it into the garden to aesthetically fit in and functionally become part of the garden. We see this all too often that there are hobbies or items that people want to have in their garden, but for whatever reason they don’t want to think about so they don’t get incorporated, and just get pushed into a corner. There, they don’t get used and it doesn't look intentional. It is like a well organized house, but with a pile of clutter in the corner (Like, between a dresser and a wall. Marilyn.).

Furthermore, it is all these components that will help personalize your garden and make it a reflection of what you like and the things you do- it will be a reflection of your lifestyle. I wrote a post a while back describing our garden as a “lifestyle” garden- a name given to our garden by a local nurseryman, and a name I have come to really like.

Plan for how you will use your garden, and you will use it more. When we began landscaping our yard we didn’t have a camper, now we do, and this will add a lot on interest to the garden while providing, if nothing else, functional storage for the camper in the off season. Again, uses and interests change over time; change is the only constant in a garden.

Have fun, try new things, and if they don’t work, re-do it!
The hammock stand was a fun project to build and beautiful to look at, but frankly, it did not get much use. I built it for my wife-  I don’t really like to lounge in the garden (this may come as a shock you many of you). Our first hammock was made of cotton so I got it for her for our 2nd anniversary (cotton is the traditional 2nd anniversary gift). The hammock pergola took up a lot of room in the garden, and room we could use for other things and other things that would get more use. 

We have a small yard, so using space efficiently is important (and a fun challenge). I have always maintained we could live in a smaller house and a have a smaller garden and we’d be fine. There are still many places in our small garden that I view as just filler- plants acting as place holders until I figure out a need or use for the space. These are what I call opportunities.

A new new gardening opportunity
This past weekend I dismantled the hammock pergola, stacked the wood, sorted and organized all the hardware (screws, lag bolts, and washers), and began planning to new pergola, which will reuse most of the wood. This Wednesday evening, friends will come over to dig up native plants for their own gardens and hopefully take away some of the hills, too. And come to think of it, I should have them dig post holes for the new pergola!

I am excited to re- landscape this and incorporate our 1966 Security Traveler into the garden.