Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Tidy May 30, 2009

If there is one thing I’m not, it’s tidy. Not in the garden, not in the house, not in my life. I’d like to be, and I try sometimes, but I always fail. Maybe it’s lack of organization, forethought, or energy. Or that given the choice between reading a book/going to the beach vs. putting the junk mail in the recycling/making sure all the nursery pots are cleaned out and stacked, I’ll always choose the former.

My neighbors probably cried real tears when we moved in – “Oh no, here come the Beverly Hillbillies!” I feel kind of bad for them, it’s probably the first time in their lives that they had to look out their windows at plastic mulch bags and actual weeds (the previous owner was pretty fussy and also had a professional gardener who used herbicides and never let a single poppy go to seed).

When I see tidy parking strip gardens like the one below, I kind of admire them on the one hand but on the other I wonder how the person planning it had the restraint to leave so much bare ground (or were they just being cheap?). I also wonder if it will stay tidy, or if it was put in by a landscaper and will be left to go wild. I kind of hope to see self-seeding flowers showing up to mess up the design a little, is that evil of me?

Tidy new parking strip garden

It is just a baby garden right now, and I walk by it at least once a week so I will be interested to see it grow. That one yellow sedum in the corner is a known spreader, so maybe the whole thing will be filled in with a nice mix of gold, purple and green before too long and I’ll be satisfied with the plants’ tendency to resist, along with me, the tendency to be too neat around the edges.


11 Responses to “Tidy”

  1. Racquel Says:

    I admit I am a bit too tidy in the garden and wish I could let things just be at times. We are who we are, no apologies are ever necessary. 🙂

  2. Catherine Says:

    It does look nice so fresh and orderly. I look at old pictures of our yard when it first was planted all neatly, I like it more now. I have some areas that start out tidy, but usually ends up not that way. I like the cottage garden look anyway which to me isn’t tidy.

  3. Melanthia Says:

    My husband and I spent four hours “tidying” the parking strip, which is a dry, sandy resort where crabgrass grows freely. After pulling all of it now I see that on half of the strip only the side along the sidewalk is well planted!

  4. Jen Says:

    Maybe you need to do a little guerrilla gardening and gift them with a few of your divided perennials! Those are nice plants, but I don’t think I could resist filling in with at least a few annual flowers or even herbs.

  5. Kim Says:

    I just bought that sedum . . . . . . . . And I’m not tidy, either. Scrubbed pots? When you are going to put dirt in them? No way! Give me that book any day!

  6. Matron Says:

    Nature knows best in the garden. If you let things self seed and arrange themselves sometimes these are the most beautiful gardens. Anyway, I think people who are obsessively tidy have a disorganized mind and they are trying to make up for it!

  7. jean Says:

    Hi Karen,
    Could you email me please?
    btw, my garden, like my house, is never tidy.

  8. Megan Says:

    I wish I was tidy. Sometimes I am temporarily tidy, but it always slides to chaos. Unfortunately never because I’m doing anything more fun, so I think you are doing it right, me, I need work. However, even in my fantasy tidy garden, I don’t aspire to visible patches of soil. I want plants everywhere!

  9. Controlled chaos – that’s my goal.

  10. easygardener Says:

    My garden looks like that after it has had its Spring tidy up….then it’s all down hill from there on.
    I’ve now got flowering weeds which I notice – but I get diverted by something else and the weed then becomes a seeding weed. The circle of weediness grinds on, unstoppable!

  11. Willi Says:

    Ooh, I really liked the staggered pavers. That looks great!

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