“Urban garden sharing” is the latest trend. It’s a terrific idea: one urban dweller might have some land but no time, Urb Two might have time but no money, and a third Urb has money but no land. Ideally, they all get together and everyone gets a tomato.
My gardening hat is off to all those gentle souls able to make a go of garden sharing, and I’ll try it too, just as soon as I finish shaking up this box of cats. In my experience, no two gardeners are likely to agree on a plan, and there will have to be a lot of compromising. I’m the only gardener at this house. If the flower garden were up to Dave, we’d have an expertly installed platform of concrete, stained green in the spirit of compromise. So I get the whole flower garden to my self.
Sort of. The bird population is also keen on planting, and they don’t have the same vision I do. I would like to see a rolling, undulating celebration of color and texture, with each wave of perennial beauty giving way to the next, azaleas to peonies to penstemons to agastaches, spiced with bulbs and punched up here and there with the vivid spark of annuals. The bird population has in mind something more along the lines of a holly forest with a galloping understory of blackberry.
Our methods differ also. My method is to dig nice big holes, juice them up with homemade compost and maybe a shot of pumice, lay in healthy small plants, firm up the soil around their roots, water, and fertilize. This totally freaks them out and half of them die outright a few weeks later, and then I pull them out. I get compliments with this method. “You must know so much about plants! Everything looks so healthy!” is a typical comment. That’s because I’ve pulled up everything that crapped out. Sometimes, if I’m pressed for time, I bring things home from the nursery and pitch them straight into the compost pile.
The bird population takes more of a blitzkrieg approach to planting. I sow, they strafe. I invest time, money and effort in a horticultural Marshall Plan. For the birds, it’s Holly Seeds Over London. Their method is wildly successful. And a two-inch holly tree has a hell of a grip on life.
In my more philosophical moments, I realize I can learn from my fellow gardeners. They’re not given to angst or self-doubt. Or second-guessing. Or constipation.
The neighborhood cats have been planting stuff too. I have also learned from them. I wear gloves all the time now.