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Why garden makeovers get my goat

I’m never going to get a job working on one of those TV gardening shows. For one, I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kinda girl. Then there’s my problem with makeovers.

It’s not the armies of landscapers and horticulturists descending on a property that get my goat.

I’m not bothered so much that so many makeovers end up looking the same. Water feature, something to hide the fence, a patch of lawn for the kids (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). I’m not even bothered by the pair of architectural plants to add pizzazz, the mulch and the newly laid deck hosed down just before the cameras roll.

What REALLY bugs me is the frantic ripping out of the old and the in with the new.

You see, I’ve always had a tough time ripping out a plant because it doesn’t fit or isn’t growing well. I’d rather transplant the thing to a different spot or give it away than throw it out. Throwing it out seems such a waste.

Even now, I have an old rosebush that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the garden, but I’m letting it live out its natural days. Those days will probably stretch into months, maybe years. So, plans for another vegie patch in its spot will have to wait.

The same with an orange tree that’s beyond its prime but is still producing fruit. Plans for a veranda where the orange tree now stands will have to wait.

Even though these plants and others like it are not ‘perfect’, they still have value, if not so much for me, then for birds, insects or to create shade for other plants.

They also form such an integral part of my imperfect garden that to remove them in a rush would leave too big a hole.

I guess I can afford this luxury of time, of letting plants run their natural course, because I’m not in a rush to stamp my authority on a patch of land.

I have all the time in the world to watch the way the light falls, where water collects and where the wind whips up. Meanwhile, who knows that plants will come my way, scream ‘buy me’ at the garden centre, or will jump out of a book or website to inspire me?

I’m happy to wait.

And waiting is not a concept you hear about in gardening makeover shows.

If you liked this, you might like:
Grow, you f*cking plant, grow
Why I can’t give up my lawn
Going native

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. GREAT POST! It bugs me when people throw perfectly good plant away. I have plants I experiment with that sometimes don’t fit in that spot either. They can easily be relocated in the spring to a better spot. They just rip the plant out and throw it away. They could put in one of the pots the new plants came in and just sit them out by the curb for someone to pick up and take to their own yard.

    October 7, 2013
  2. i hear you! not that i watch TV but a few months ago we bought a little place with an established, conventional garden, and i’m slowly converting it to my preferred fruit forest garden style. any plant i remove is either re-homed with my MIL or put up on Freecycle 🙂

    October 8, 2013
  3. southernfleurieuflora #

    I agree, when moving into an established garden I have always hated the “bare earth policy”, and preferred to work with what I have. Unfortunately in my current garden the front yard was dominated by a rubber tree, Ficus elastica, that was planted in the middle of the garden, and stretched from the front fence to the eaves, and from the driveway to the other side of the garden totally dominating the front yard. The surface roots were huge, one was lifting the front porch, another heading across the driveway to my neighbors. It had to go. Anytime we cut a branch we had thick white sap dripping on us immediately. Luckily a friend had told me that the Adelaide or Monarto Zoo would come and take them if they were accessible. Our was, and a few months ago it went to Monarto Zoo for the Chimpanzees and Black Rhinos to enjoy. So I regained a front yard full of potential, and the tree went to a good cause. Even now, when I dig a whole to plant something, I dig roots that bleed white sap. It hasn’t reshot from the trunk, which now holds a saucer for water for the magpies, and my concern of the roots shooting isn’t happening.

    October 9, 2013
  4. gardnersmelbourne #

    I am also a garden lover and love to experiments with my garden, but sometimes my experiments won’t fortunate. Anyway, you are right that garden must grow with the natural process for a rich and beautiful garden experience.

    March 11, 2017

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