A week ago, the New York Times had an article about Page Dickey and her husband Bosco Schell that talked about how they were downsizing and simplifying their garden. The article is in part a preview of Ms. Dickey’s upcoming book Embroidered Ground: Revisiting the Garden on just that subject. It will be published in February, 2011.
It is at least the second on that that subject that I know of in the last two years and if the aging baby boomers are any indication, it is just the second in an expected wave of many.
The first, which was Sydney Eddison’s Gardening for a Lifetime, which I posted about on May 13th, also talked about her desire to simplify her garden by taking out cherished perennials and replacing them with shrubs. The similarities in Eddison’s book and the quotes in Ann Raver’s article about Dickey and Schell are startling–not because I think there is any deliberate attempt by Raver or Dickey to echo Eddison–I think they’d be horrified if they thought for a minute that they were. It’s just that many of us gardeners are doing the same thing.
I find that 15 years into my garden I do not have the energy or stamina that I had when I got to my property–and different interests are competing for my time as well. So I too am ripping out perennials, especially the fussy or under-performing ones. I’ll leave those to the newer, fresher gardeners. Been there, done that, broke two feet and an ankle(literally) doing it.
My sister was horrified to hear me say I was giving up not only seed starting but growing tomatoes altogether after this year. Well, short of growing them in the middle of a sloping lawn (and even that probably wouldn’t yield great results) I have no way to achieve good results on this property–there’s really just too much shade. So, that’s why we have farmer’s markets, and I am blessed with 4 of them in just the next town over.
So, live and learn–perhaps someday soon I’ll write my own book. This aging thing seems to be quite the trend. Since none of us is getting any younger, maybe I’ll hop on the bandwagon!