FELDER RUSHING: Time to tame an out of control cottage garden | Way of life


Got a mess? Maybe because I’ve been so busy for over a year, but my garden is starting to reach me.

The ancients remember Fibber McGee’s closet, perhaps the most well-known racing sound gag of classic American radio era. Every time someone opened McGee’s hall closet, a cacophony of disorder fell.

“I have to get this closet cleaned out someday” was Fibber’s standard observation once the racquet calmed down. Of course, “someday” hardly ever happened.

I have a closet like this and a kitchen drawer, tool shed, library shelves, and boxes stacked with junk in similar straight lines. I know where everything is, but I can’t disentangle it when needed.

And now I realize that slowly, after more than four decades of dragging plants and found objects (the “found objects” I call the art of the yard), my once manicured cottage garden has become an art-loving horticultural hoarder tote. . What started as a wall-to-wall lawn with a green mustache of shrubs surrounding the foundation of the house has grown into a tangled, tangled gallimaufry so crowded and intricate that my mother once described it as “a kaleidoscope having a stroke.” “.

That’s good for now, of course, because I’m a true maverick gardener who loves all the plants I see and imagines the artistic potential of whatever someone else has thrown away. And although visitors have to squint their eyes to disentangle the sweet vignettes among the mess, I cherish it all.

But lately, in a big, albeit somewhat macabre, admission of my aging and stiffness, and thinking about the future, I realize that one day someone is going to have to sort through the accumulations of gardens that I have. leave behind me. Like cleaning out Granny’s attic, the yard of my beloved house can become a sad and frustrating chore.

So rather than leaving unsavory decisions to my puzzled kids, I take a proactive approach that I hope will improve my life for many years to come: I get professional help.

In an unusual approach to what we call ‘creative deconstruction’, my longtime friend Rick Griffin, whose highly successful career as a creative landscape architect has seen many blank slates become a beautiful and useful tapestry, agreed. reluctantly to help me compose it comes back a bit. He was the one who first created the round terraces and other spaces for people, curved the walkways and added privacy screens and other “harsh” features that made my garden a series. functional spaces.

Now, instead of turning a bare lawn into beautiful and interesting garden rooms, we’re dismantling some of the small, distinct but visually confusing areas, carving out larger, more relaxing spaces with less maintenance.

The hardest part? Honestly, I don’t need all those broken shovels, paint buckets, empty jars, dozens of glass bottle trees, and countless precious plants. How many daffodils, herbs, wildflowers, roses and other ancient shrubs and mismatched containers do I really enjoy maintaining on my own, seeing how I can savor them (often in better condition) all over the place? town and in the many botanical gardens that I visit each year? Do I have to own them all or can I please by proxy?

I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, but I find myself surfed, with less fire consuming me to do more, more, more. I’ll save enough to keep me challenged and happy. But this fall, I’ll probably have a real garage sale where I pass the largesse on to others, with the caveat that I can come visit them if I miss them too much.

It’s just time I took charge of my garden desires before they bury me and my heirs.

FELDER RUSHING is an author, columnist and host of the Mississippi Gestalt Gardener on MPB Think Radio. Email your gardening questions to [email protected]


About Jermaine Chase

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