I frequently tell folks that “I don’t have a landscape – I have a plant collection. Sometimes it works as a design, sometimes, not so much.” We also have a bunch of funky yard art, lights and other unique items we enjoy displaying in our outdoor environment. All of which I’m sure would make most landscape designers gag.
People that know I spend a lot of time in our tiny little yard often have that look of curious disappointment when they drop by for a visit. As if to say “what – this is it? This is the landscape you’re so proud of?” First of all – I’m not exactly proud of it. As I mentioned above, I know it’s an eclectic collection of plants and crap. Second – yes, I spend a lot of time in the yard but I enjoy being outside. And third – I often have that same look on my face when I visit other people’s gardens. So here is my point. Among the many positive benefits associated with gardening, bringing pleasure to your life is right there at the top of the list. So no matter what your landscape, garden or yard looks like to others - as long as it makes you happy – that’s all that counts.
This may seem like a pretty simple idea but it’s actually a “philosophy” I’m just now getting comfortable with. I think that’s because as a so-called “scientist” for over 30 years I thought primarily with my left brain. Now that I’m gardening strictly for enjoyment, my right brain is slowly taking over. Plus I‘ve reached an age/stage where I really don’t give a !@#$ what people think of me – much less my yard (oops, kind of drifted off topic there).
This point was really driven home the other day when one of my neighbors invited me over to see her backyard. On the walk across the street she told me that she has lived in the same house for over 50 years. Also that her mother (now deceased) had always tended the flower beds and that she was now working hard to get the yard back in shape. As we entered through the gate she lit up like a light bulb. Absolute joy and such a look of pride and accomplishment I’ve not seen in a long time. For just a moment my left brain started mentally picking apart the details. But then my right brain kicked in and I began to fully appreciate her efforts. That appreciation had much less to do with the plants and garden structures and a whole lot more to do with the sheer pleasure this garden was bringing to her life. Based on this criteria alone I’d say it is among the most successful gardens in Galveston.
I have several local gardening buddies and friends that have very different and diverse landscape philosophies. Strictly natives, organic this and that, butterfly gardening, feng shui, chemicals for everything, cats in the garden, you name it. As different and diverse as these philosophies are, the one thing these folks have in common is that they’re receiving great pleasure from gardening here on Galveston Island. I just have to let my right brain enjoy the diversity!