Thursday, July 18, 2013

Populist Gardening, or Why Fine Gardening is Not Getting My 29 Bucks

Today I splurged on an issue of Fine Gardening, lured by the cover article on catmints, my all-around fave and trusty garden BFF.  I spent the equivalent of the cost of a perennial, mainly because my hands were full in the check out line and I couldn't gobble up the pretty pictures and text while waiting (I'm a fast reader). The article by the no-doubt noted expert made it clear that while many of his garden friends "made a face" discussing catmints, and he himself would be "just as happy never to see Knock-Out Roses (insert botanical name) and catmint planted again," he felt these worthy garden subjects, etc etc.

I have been comically irritated ever since, to the point where I am pretty sure Fine Gardening is not getting any more of my personal simoleans.

The reason being, it's a question of taste, right? Since when  is it a good idea to disparage someone's taste?  And why on earth would I shell out $7 for said disparagement?  You could say Knock Outs are overplanted, or you don't happen to like them, or you're worried Rose Rosette will take out 20% of the landscaping in your  zip code. But this hastening to dismiss reminds me of 15 year olds navigating the shifting heirarchy of which bands are cool, in case they fail to curl the lip at the right moment.

Common plants are common because they are pretty and tough.  Thanks to economies of scale, they also tend to be cheap. Watching my expensive landscaping fry in this killer heat, pretty, tough and cheap are looking awfully good. This nostril-flaring business ("Oh, THOSE") is just about as silly as can be, unless, I suppose, the magazine is geared for those who want to make sure they're flaring their own nostrils appropriately (Cover Article:  "It's Still Okay to Like Sambuca Black Lace!")

Okay, end of rant.  You can come back in now, it's safe.

Perhaps I'm so touchy because the heat is killing my new lacecap hydrangeas.  I am going to rig some shade netting and fret some more.  I worry constantly about my Vanderwolf Pines and how much to water.  I am always digging my fingers anxiously into the dirt.  The viburnums, Limelight and oakleaf hydrangea, plumbago, and of course the Knock Outs and catmints (gentle cough) are sailing through so far. Magnolia seems okay though I keep eyeing it suspiciously, frankly because it looks like a big gardenia and I can't keep gardenia alive.  The suicide instantly when they cross into the premesis.  It's only mid-July and these poor plants have endured so much heat stress in the last two weeks.  Worry, worry, fuss, fuss.

Still noodling on what to mass in the West bed.  Camellias crossed my mind-- bear with me, I read that a Northwest exposure is good when you're further North-- but then North seems to be shifting these days.  Too expensive and risky.  "Peppy and cheap" is my motto.  Honestly the Little Lime hydrangeas are shapely and refreshing and doing well nearby.  I thought of New Jersey Tea, but I can't remember seeing it in person.  There's good old Inkberry Holly.  I love caryopteris but I can't quite picture them with that cutleaf Japanese Maple which has been moved twice already.  I had thought of a layer of Little Limes, then a fronting of caryopteris... with JM?  Nah.  Abelia?  Snowberry? Bayberry? Beautyberry? Beri beri?  Clearly time to stop.

Wait-- I KNOW.

Fine Gardening, avert your eyes!

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I came here via Wife, Mother, Gardener, after I saw you live in Central PA. I am in Northeast PA, a bit northeast of Scranton.

    Popular, "over=planted" plants are popular and over-planted for a reason--they work for the climate and conditions they're in!

    I personally like Knock-Out roses and Nepeta. Would I rather have a garden full of hybrid teas and David Austins? Sure, but my climate, soil, budget, and available gardening time don't allow for that!

    Fine Gardening does have some lovely pictures to look at, but for me, it's check-out line (or library) viewing material!

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog. Hope you're enjoying these cooler (dare I say COLD) days this week! Good gardening weather!