Friday, March 16, 2012


Gardening is not some sort of game by which one proves his superiority over others, nor is it a marketplace for the display of elegant things that others cannot afford. It is, on the contrary, a growing work of creation, endless in its changing elements. It is not a monument or an achievement, but a sort of traveling, a kind of pilgrimage you might say, often a bit grubby and sweaty though true pilgrims do not mind that. A garden is not a picture, but a language, which is of course the major art of life." Henry Mitchell "The Essential Earthman" I work as the Floriculture Director for Southern Land Company, a development company with a commitment to distinctive horticulture. My job includes designing and planting semi-annually close to 300 community containers, over 400 annual beds, and hundreds of other containers and garden beds for residents requesting our horticulture services. I love my job and the opportunity to bring beauty to our local communities. Most of all, I love introducing new plant material to the average gardener, and to helping them find success in their own gardens.

I found the above during one of my pilgrimages through the web, to check what is going on in other pastures in terms of horticulture and gardening.

This declaration may be true in Barbara's eyes, however your humble servant disagrees in more than one aspects of the whole.  Not that it makes any difference over here, in Puerto Rico.  In  other necks of the woods it might.

Nature is the best example of competition and display, in any context. Water, soil, air.  Flora and fauna leave no doubt that either you swim or drown.  Just one example, think of birds, many display their dance, singing or colors to attract the females. Those with better skills will dominate.  Big fishes eat the smaller ones. Some plants fool insects to induce them to pollinate with sex. 

Competition is a constant in nature, why should it be different among people, gardens, gardeners? 

Elegant things others may not be able to afford should be garden accessories or plants bought in nurseries.  If you collect, propagate, swap plants/seeds, make your own compost/compost tea, create homemade insecticide with necessary skills, no money will be exchanged at all, ever. 

Gardeners, implicitly or not, with or without blogs, are motivated by a feeling of superiority. I am.  But superiority is not necessarily in terms of money, social status, academic degrees and else.  The superiority shows in the field, when the ability to create, develop, question, experiment, accept mistakes, is evident in the garden collection at home or alternative concrete/asphalt contexts I practice.

That superiority real or virtual, is nothing to be ashame. After all, I practice what I preach 24/7.  Down here, the concept of horticulture, garden, botanical garden is absent until the contrary is proved, with relevant evidence, photos or irrefutable arguments.

On top, when practices horticulture for hire, or just a habit, keeping the whole in perspective, flora, fauna, climate, temperature, heat, cold, dry or wet, light or shade, no maintenance/high maintenance, resistance to disease plant, demonstrate superiority in perception. This practice is superior to the other, the one for profit without theoretical frames, just for show, in the long run.  

Money, profits, make any exercise futile.  It  allows oceans of lawns everywhere, fads, new plants year after year, just like new models in the automobile industry. 

For these reasons, I think gardening, horticulture is a matter of keeping our surroundings constantly in mind. Aesthetics are secondary to help insects, birds, reptiles, do what they are meant to do.  Those gardens perfectly manicured are certainly sterile and useless except for bipeds, like you and me. 

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