I devour garden books. I read them voraciously to learn how to plan a garden, what to plant where, how to design the space, all of that. I admire the well ordered designs, the borders made up of drifts of flowers that I see in those books. But somehow none of this takes.
Our garden always ends up being a sort of a wild tumultuous space. I used to apologize my way around the garden when company came over, for it’s messiness, it’s over-grown-ness, it’s haphazardness. Part of me wanted something much neater and organized, like those pretty gardens in the books.
But then, I don’t know when exactly, I started to appreciate the way plants just pop up where ever and to enjoy the delightful surprises. And most of all I came to accept our way of gardening. I’ve decided to call it Serendipitous Gardening.
Why is our garden as it is? I suppose it’s because we hate to pull anything out. If it looks ok, we leave it. And I can’t throw anything out either so if I have to divide plants I’ll just pop them in another spot or we’ll create a new bed to house them. Or it could be because the compost with the seeds of spent flowers gets spread all around in the spring and those seeds just get a chance to grow and have a change of view? Or is it because I can’t say no to some plant or other that I don’t need or even have room for that I find at a garage sale? When I get home the poor thing gets bunged into any available space just before it expires in the pot. Who knows? A bit of all of it I suppose.
Sometimes being sort of laissez-faire about it all has it’s rewards. Plants that were seeded somewhere else re-seed themselves in unexpected places. Like the phlox that grew up in and around the iris bed. How did they know they would set off the irises so well?
Or the bluebells and rose campion that pop up around the orange day lilies creating just the right mix of complementary color.
Or the mallow that I left in with the squash plants just to give the veggie garden a bit of color. As artists, I suppose, we have come to appreciate and delight in the serendipitous results.