pragmatism in the garden

I think probably lots (if not all) of my fellow gardeners also strongly feel the pull of the garden versus the push towards other imperatives such as family, friends and work.

There is clearly a logical order in doing garden tasks. For example, it is sensible to weed before mulching. The mulch hides the weeds, and provides them with a cosy cover so they can thrive.

This is a no win situation. I simply don’t have enough time to thoroughly weed before mulching. If I did I wouldn’t get around to mulching, and the weeds would grow back in the absence of mulch.

That’s why they’re weeds. WEEDS – standing for Wily Everywhere Excellent Determined Survivors.

We just have to learn to co-exist.

I guess weeding and mulching, although generally enjoyable, are much like housework. It’s necessary maintenance. Sometimes it’s relaxing, it’s good exercise, satisfying when finished, but often either not done or done in a rushed, pragmatic way.

The real pull of gardening is the re-arranging - the neverending thrilling search for elusive patterns of perfect plant combinations.

The other day, staring at the front garden I suddenly realized that I needed to move one of the salvias to the spot where the African daisy is. Then there will be a soothing repetitive pattern of salvia without rigid unsubtle symmetry. Similarly with a wallflower and a wormwood which look a bit random and uninspiring in their present positions. Swapping places will make all the difference.

I’m not sure where the African daisy should go. But I’ll put it somewhere, and suddenly, one day, I will just know where it should go. And then it will need to be done with extreme urgency, no matter what the state of weeds or mulch.


  1. A very sensible post. A garden is for living in and enjoying. To obsess about weeding seems wrong to me.

  2. A good read. I too enjoy moving plants and combinations more than the nitty gritty weeding especially the dreaded ground elder.

  3. Hi Hermes, you are right, but I guess we bring our selves to the garden. Earlier on I used to obsess and even have sleepless nights worrying I did something terrible. Now I realize it doesn't matter, whatever happens happens - one of the advantages of getting old(er).

    Hi Joanne, Thanks for comment. I'm not familiar with the dreaded ground elder. But I have at times had some fierce weeds, and over time they seem to be controlled - but never vanquished completely.


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