Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Matter of Perspective

I'm tired and student projects cover my table. The magazine lies cast to the side, its perfect pages turned under and ignored. Clad in sweats and a holey shirt, I crank the volume and begin to move. Hip swaying, booty shaking bass thunders through the house and I dance like my head's on fire. I have no talent for dance and the dogs stand clear as I shimmy and thrash. Out of breath, I slide into the chair and smile. I do not dance because I have talent. I dance because it makes me happy. 



Late June 2013

I grab the magazine and quietly soak in the lush gardens, collections of rare perennials, and expensive pottery. And I laugh. My property occupies a cramped quarter acre in a densely developed subdivision, a warren of people, cars, and square, boxy shrubs.  My dogs have redug all the holes I filled last fall and are pooping in the garden. One of my favorite pots is cracked and another has a hole covered with duct tape. My only water feature is a birdbath but it doesn't matter. It makes me happy so I dig, plant, and dream.




Early July 2014

I once visited a garden I didn't like, a moonscape of plants and pale, flinty gravel. The gardener stood proud, surveying his design with calm satisfaction and I took a second look. My opinion was irrelevant, white noise filling the space between us. It was his garden to love not mine.  So he dug, planted, and dreamed. 



Early July 2014

72 comments:

  1. Yup , that's what it's all about. Doing what you love , enjoying what you have done and keep dreaming! It's a fun, creative , and soul enriching. Not to mention at times very therapeutic! And it's your own thing. We can all get caught up on what we think it should be or look like ...etc. too much of that on our media these days. I stopped going on our local garden tours a few years ago, most of them were staged or professionally designed and maintained. Which is fine but don't claim it is otherwise. The actual gardeners were few and far between. Too bad. Your garden is lovely, you created it and it is a living space that supports bugs, beetles, bees, a turtle, birds, dogs and a family. And it's beautiful!! You'd da real deal honey!! ( 1/4 acre is a big lot!)

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    1. You and I are two peas in a pod! Conversations held with real in-the-soil gardeners are quite different from those held with people who have gardens but don't know anything about them. I used to get frustrated/angry with garden magazines. Instead of being inspiring, they were depressing. But I had to learn to stop comparing my garden with those of the people in the magazine. It was so stupid and pointless. Instead, I created the garden I wanted regardless of what I saw in the magazines.

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  2. I like a good blast of Queen when I'm gardening because there is room to boogey around the beds and my awful sing-along gets lost in space. Painting walls requires the three tenors turned up loud, drives my husband crazy when I stop to conduct. Before visiting gardens I remind myself to be kind-even if I think it is g-awful somebody loves it.

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    1. I agree! If every garden looked the same, what a boring world it would be. But some do require a bit of creative interpretation.

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  3. Sounds to me like a very healthy break after reading through those student projects! I hope you have a spring break coming - and that weather on your side of the country cooperates and provides ample opportunities to get out into the garden. It's the visions of our gardens we see in our mind's eye that keep us going, not the picture perfect photos in glossy magazines.

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    1. I'm forcing myself to finish grading them tonight so I can enjoy the rest of my break without having to think about them. I reference my own personal vision when I work in the garden instead of those from magazines but it took a while to get to that point.

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    1. Dancing, gardening, laughing like a hyena with people who love you, and petting dogs are some of the best therapies I know. :o)

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  5. Hahahaha....You sure conjured a wonderfully vivid picture of your dancing! I had the urge to join yo! When I dance my dogs join in and I usually end up underneath them on the floor!
    Poor you....why should any of us have to work....drat and darn it I say. I hope you sorted all the paperwork...and got back to browsing. My garden is the same....no, it's worse. I have no lawn, lots of doggy holes and shrubs being torn out and used as playthings....what's left usually gets blown over....but, yes, lets dig, plant and dream, your garden will be ablaze with life and colour before you know it!xxx

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    1. I look like a mental patient, I assure you! One of my dogs spends all her time choosing just the right spot to drop that precious turd and it's usually right on top of a plant! Pooping in the grass is just too common for her. She's very particular. I'm so glad I can accommodate her toiletry needs with a variety of plants to choose from.

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  6. Dancing = JOY! No such thing as a bad dancer.

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    1. Yes! Some of us are just more creative with our movements than others. ;o)

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  7. So colorful! the yellow color is so striking! I love it....

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    1. I love yellow flowers and have lots of them. They're so cheerful. :o)

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  8. Reminds me of the song "Lord of the Dance." (Cute video with children dancing: http://bit.ly/1GFhK9Q). "Dance, then, wherever you may be ..." My garden is pretty wild, but I like it. I can't wait to get my fingernails dirty again. :)

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    1. Cute video!! I've already been out digging and it felt so good!

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  9. I love your take on life! I love the saying - "Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening and live each day like it's your last!"
    My garden, like my house is a collection of plants and other things that I was attracted to and make me happy to be surrounded by! No rhyme of reason...just my nest! Keep dancing!!!

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    1. Life is short. Have fun while you can! I like gardens with no rhyme or reason. I especially like it when the gardener explains the personal reasons why the garden appears unconventional. It's always a chance to see life through another perspective. :o)

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  10. Powerful......Love this Tam! And the tunes you picked were perfect for shaking off the lies! Your yarrow is perfect in that border up there! And your garden is you and it is beautiful! You show the real and I admire that about you and your space here! Here is to a new and awesome season ahead! Nicole xo

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    1. Thanks! It actually took me a long time to mentally figure out what I was trying to say in this piece. Gardening magazines feel a bit like Disneyland to me. Beautiful but totally scripted and fake at the same time.

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  11. One of the best lessons any gardener can learn--create a garden YOU love, and forget everybody's else's! I have a new huge hole in my garden, thanks to Sophie's sniffing out some varmint, there's cat poop in the mulch, and forgotten dog toys instead of garden art. I have a feeling we would enjoy and totally "get" each other's gardens, Tammie!

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    1. Exactly!! I think you and I are kindred spirits, indeed. :o)

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  12. I'm sooo glad to know I am not alone in "dancing in the dark", well, and in the light too. I LOVE to dance and used to be pretty darned good at it, but that was in the day. Now I struggle a bit to get all my joints moving as easily as Travola on a good day (note I said GOOD day....he has been pretty weird of late...) But thank you for reminding me: I can always dance!

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  13. There is nothing like a good boogie to get you in a better mood. I do the same - it frightens two dogs and thrills one. Perfection is very overrated.

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    1. I agree!!! Perfection is ephemeral at best, anyway. My dogs always hide or at least stay clear. I'd love to know what they say to each other when I start to groove.

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  14. I'm willing to adopt a "to each her/his own" attitude when it comes to colors, patterns, fragrances and specific plant choices in the garden, but I'm unapologetically opinionated when it comes to asserting that a garden (like yours) that supports birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife is better and more valuable than one that does not.

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    1. Truth! I don't like sterile gardens where everything has been groomed and sprayed to within an inch of its life. They're like plant museums. A garden doesn't feel like a garden without wildlife. :o)

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  15. Wow.. I LOVE your garden! I think it looks great! I too pull out some music to get myself going... it is amazing what music can do for you. Michelle

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    1. Thanks!! Can you imagine what a miserable world this would be if we didn't have music? I'm listening to Kate Earl right now. Very smooth. :o)

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  16. In the end, we garden for ourselves and our own enjoyment! I love your more natural, boisterous garden. I often feel badly for dessert gardeners who have to learn to embrace gravel and succulents - definitely not as much my style :)

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    1. I would really struggle to garden in the desert. Cactus is not my thing!

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  17. The best perspective is to have fun in life....I dance because I love it too....and I love my garden, weeds, vole tracks, and dead plant material sticking through the snow....

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    1. Yes! If I didn't have holes all over my lawn it would mean I didn't have dogs and that would be hell. I'd rather have my super pooper, hole digging mutts.

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  18. Hi Tammy, a "cramped" quarter acre is considered a large garden, here in the UK, where most gardens are the size of a postage stamp. From my perspective, your garden is huge and of course, absolutely, beautifully, crazy fabulous!

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    1. You are so kind! You make me smile. :o) I see so many pics of English gardens that seem to ramble on for miles and always include some impossibly gorgeous cottage or stone house. Sometimes I look at my garden and think I don't have the time for a bigger garden while other times I crave more space and less neighbors. If you ever visit the DC area, please stop by! :o)

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  19. There are times I wish I could fly down there and take pictures of your garden just so you could see it fresh through someone else's eyes. Your garden is a lot more magazine worthy than you think.
    The weather here continues to be unseasonably cold, so I am doing nothing but dreaming these days. Dreaming is the easy part, the fun part without an aching back and arms covered in bug bites. Even so, I am anxious to get digging. It has a special appeal all of its own.

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    1. Maybe I just see all the areas I'm still struggling with. To have you photograph my garden would be an honor. :o) I have a friend who is a really talented photographer who is going to take photos of my garden this summer for that very reason. I'm very curious to see what she sees. Your garden often runs through my mind on a continuous loop when I think of redesigns for areas that need work. It is so stunning!

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  20. You're an inspiration. Keep on dancing lady! If it makes you happy it is well worth the effort. My garden is messy and lacks any finesse but gosh it makes my days better.

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    1. Thanks, Marguerite! We should all do whatever it is that makes us happy. :o)

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  21. Keep on dancing Tammy!
    I hope all the grading is now done.

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    1. I will! 80 projects graded and 29 to go.....

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  22. Dig, plant, and dream. That's a good recipe for gardening. Love the garden you're with.

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  23. Any garden that can reflect its maker's personality is a great one. At least those are usually my faves! :)

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  24. No garden is truly great without at least some duct tape! I agree with Anna, gardens that reflect their maker's personality are the most interesting and beautiful. Most of us garden because it brings us joy, not to create a magazine spread. Although, if you're someone with acreage and a staff of gardeners, bless you for creating beauty for the rest of us to enjoy!

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    1. I've seen gardens before that, while beautiful, were so sterile and blah. They had no zing at all. I like gardens that surprise me. The duct tape has zebra stripes. Honey, we all know I'm a class act! ;o)

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  25. OH YES, that's how I dance! We sometimes blast the house with Queen or similar and leap about like ejits.
    I like a garden that teeters on the brink or threatens chaos. Some professional gardeners are far too tidy and restrictive for my taste. The photos of your garden look delightful.
    I notice Klimt's painting on your sidebar. I'm looking forward to seeing the film about the battle to wrestle a painting of his from the Austrian authorities by the rightful owner (played by Helen Mirren.) She won!

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    1. Then we would have tons of fun together. :o) I had no idea Helen Mirren made a film about Klimt! He's one of my favorite artists.

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  26. Well said. It's sad when people don't do something they wand to do because they are afraid they will be doing it "wrong". This certainly applies to gardening We should feel free to be, as Christopher Lloyd said, adventurous. We can all have our own opinions about what constitutes a beautiful garden. What's more, we should be able to laugh and argue about it.

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    1. I agree 100%. It seems like gardeners are in a hurry to copy a classic, formal style rather than create their own. But all gardens should inspire conversation. :o)

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  27. Hello there Tammy girl !
    Funny enough a few years ago one of my doctors asked "Do I garden for "other" people" .. I asked what he meant .. he said "to impress people with your garden" .. I almost fell off the chair laughing honestly (he is a nice doctor really) in any case I said "NO" !!!!!! .. I actually hide the majority of my garden from people (now with an 8' fence it is wonderful) .. I garden for ME and only ME .. aside from a few things that pleases my hubby .. I could not imagine gardening for any approval from other people .. what is the point ?
    I totally APPROVE of your dancing girl , hehehehe ... sorry about all the work you have to get through .. but at least you can see ? and be? in your garden and I am totally jealous !
    Joy from the frozen north !
    PS .. inspire conversation ... yes !

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    1. My garden is 100% for me with concessions made for the dogs and my husband. Spring has sprung here and our famous cherry blossoms will be opening soon. But winter has to end for you! Sooner would be better than later!

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  28. Amen - you speak for all of us who dig and plant because we love to!

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  29. Well I garden for me....and I don't give a rat's A$$ who likes my garden or not....just saying.
    For many many years now I have been trying to fashion my garden into a Japanese inspired one with only white flowers and lots of greenery....I am making slooooow progress, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end right???
    Your photos as usual are spectacular...gorgeous blooms.

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    1. I don't give a rat's ass, either! No one should. You'll get there. Just keep plugging away. :o)

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  30. Crank it up, keep dancing, and garden as if no one is watching.

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  31. You're such a good writer, Tammy. I too have visited many gardens that weren't really my cup o' tea. But then, gardens are so personal that if they all looked the same it would be weird. Keep on dancing! Your garden photos are beautiful.

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    1. High praise from a published writer! What a weird world it would be if everything was the same. We were born original. Why die a clone? Thanks for the garden love. :o)

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  32. I can just picture you and the dogs!
    You have a lovely garden and everything you do in the garden is an inspiration.
    We all have different views of what our garden should look like, I guess it usually reflects the type of person we are. I have heard comments about my garden that it is too tidy – but that’s how I am, a tidy person and so is my garden. I put into it the plants I like – as many as I can squeeze in, never mind what the fashion says I should have, and I have great fun doing it :-)

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    1. Thanks, Helene! Sometimes they sing along with me. I call it choir practice. :o) Occasionally, they get excited and run around barking. It would drive other people nuts but I think it's funny. Your garden is a work of art! With such a small space your tidiness is an asset.

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  33. You garden for all the right reasons :)
    and sing and dance as well!

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  34. Haha..I can understand your feelings as I'm having similar one. I'm back to the blog and garden world after a hiatus, and the garden is no longer there. Full of weeds and thus I'm dancing and planning and planting and happy. Missed your blog but now back to read it again and enjoy :-).

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    1. Welcome back! Sometimes our gardens are better after we've taken a break from them.

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  35. By the way, some of the songs are fantastic -- family affair and the last one -- cool.

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  36. Your garden looks so lovely, it would make me dance and smile too! Sarah x

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