Gardening Gone Wrong

Have you ever seen a “garden” and wondered what happened? Neglect? Lapse in judgement? A moment of insanity? And when did people start putting plastic in their gardens?  It seems strange, but that’s what people seem to want.  They come to the nursery all the time and describe their ideal plant.  “I want evergreen, remains 4 feet tall, flowers profusely, not too big, not too small, just right, glossy leaves, looks good in the winter, looks good in the summer, looks good in the spring, looks good in the fall.”  Seems like they want a plastic plant.  Nothing that might actually change and/or die.  Both of the ‘gardens’ below I photographed in the Seattle area.  The plastic ivy has a whimsical, devil-may-care attitude, and the forgotten lilies seem like they are struggling to finish a marathon, they may not make it to the finish line.  Where do these gardens take you?  Comedy or tragedy?

Reckless Ivy
Lilies and Succulents?  Strange Partners.

10 thoughts on “Gardening Gone Wrong

  1. Well, there are gardens and there are GARDENS! Sad that some people have no idea of the joys of the changing seasons apart from buying new bedding plants to throw out a few weeks later! I know people who literally have bare earth, just waiting for their annual planting: pansies in spring, begonias in summer, heathers in autumn, and covered up with evergreen branches in winter!

    1. I guess everyone has their own style! But the more we learn about our plants, the more they teach us about garden design and how to grow them.

  2. This reminds me a bit of watching the early-season episodes of American Idol–the worst auditions are always trotted out for viewer amusement, and while sometimes funny, they are frequently just sad. We always try to figure out whether they have an inner ear problem–they can’t hear themselves being awful–or they are just insane (and therefore could never acknowledge their badness). I think people with bad gardens are similar, and fall into three categories: gardeners without an ‘eye’ (like the lily/succulent gardener), gardeners without taste (like plastic ivy trellis), and gardeners who pay other people to garden for them (and so wind up with too much lawn, vast expanses of barren beauty bark, and poorly pruned trees and shrubs. Let us be generous and underestimate at a third of our local populace, say). You could direct your customers to Viburnum davidii and Blue Star juniper—I think those are about as close as you could come to the static plant requirements you describe! Still, I have to say: plastic ivy is far superior to real ivy, at least in our area.

    Oh, I just noted the memoriam plaque on the lily/succulent trough! Maybe they just hated that person!

    1. It’s hard to understand why plants aren’t one of the most important things in people’s lives! Shouldn’t ‘take care of the garden’ be right up there with ‘brush your teeth’, ‘earn a living’, and ‘drink lots of water’? Alas, everyone has different priorities, and survival in this world usually comes first. For instance, please don’t drive by MY garden/yard right now, it’s full of weeds! I’ve been too busy working at the nursery and gardening for other people to take care of my own green stuff. I need a weeding vacation!

      1. Don’t forget ‘Never trust a man wearing a tank top after dark.’ I can understand not liking to garden, and surely where we live gardening would be a major interference to yoga, snowsports, pedaling furiously on your $3000 bike, and other ‘meaningful’ physical activity. It’s when people like to garden and wind up with weird stuff that I wonder how it happened. Weedy garden, eh?. They say the shoemaker’s children have no shoes…far be it from me to make a value judgement on that. I’m the Furnace Man, and I never clean my furnace filters.

  3. This reminds me of a summer when I worked for my brother Richard on a summer landscaping business. This was in New York, A client had a dead dogwood tree. My brother offered to take it down.
    “Why would I do that?” said the client.
    “Well … it’s dead,” said Rich.
    “Yeah, but during the winter, who can tell?” the client responded.
    Needless to say, plants were not a big part of this client’s life.

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