Monday, August 31, 2009

"Gardens are a form of autobiography" -S. Eddison

You know the best part of being a plant pathologist? I get to make house calls.

Every time I go to someone's house to look at a browning lawn or ailing tree, I also get to soak in the surrounding garden. And these gardens are fantastic. They are a gardener's soul and personality expressed in plants and I get to see it all.

I can tell as soon as I walk into a garden if you are meticulous or messy, laid-back or Type A, a dreamer or a doer. When I lived downtown, I watched a woman who lived on Broad Street pick fallen leaves out of the Mondo grass every day. Every leaf. Even though I've never met her, I know a lot about her from the way she gardened.

Even the flower colors you choose tell me something about you. Blues, whites, purples and greens signal a gardener who likes to sit under the shade of a large oak with a glass of iced tea. Reds, oranges and yellows tell me you like a little more action and that you may have a fiery temper.

If there's a point to this, I guess it is to thine own garden be true. Don't worry about the neighbors or the trends or the magazines. Take what you like from these inspirations and move on. If you like a garden that is overflowing with colors and textures, do it. And if you crave straight lines and repetition, do that.

When a garden bares the gardener's true personality, I can feel it. And even if the garden needs some weeding or isn't my style, I love it.

P.S. Not sure what to do with your old artificial Christmas tree? You can turn it into a bottle tree like the James Island gardener did in the picture above. Simply remove the branches and arrange pretty bottles on the metal stems.

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