Thursday, Aug. 01, 2002
Up until about eight years ago I made part of my living as a gardener. I was, needless to say, The Gardener From Hell.
The deal was that I would let my clients make whatever suggestions and/or requests they wanted and then I would simply ignore the ones I didn't like. I would then design and set up their gardens the way *I* felt they should look.
As Margaret, one of my former clients once put it while surveying the grounds around her home, "It's very nice of you to let me live with your gardens."
The hardest part of designing a garden for someone was to coax out of them what they wanted from the landscape so I at least had a theme with which to annoy them. The big question always was did they want a comforting oasis or were they looking for a status symbol?
I mean, nobody is going to come right out and say, "I want to make my neighbours so sick with envy over my ostentatious yard that they gouge their eyes out in despair at the wonder of it all".
Lots of them wanted that, though.
Oh and let's not forget the colour de jour.
It seems very odd to me now that I've been out of the biz for a while, but there's colour fads in gardening just as there are colour fads in clothing. I had to subscribe to a kazillion gardening magazines so I could spot what each year's cool colour would be.
I remember taking one woman on an extensive tour of five or six properties I'd done and at the end of it she said, "I really like the last garden and I want one just like it, only in blue."
Only in blue.
Just as there is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, there is Marn and Snarky Gardening Bitch.
I could feel Snarky Gardening Bitch screaming at this woman from inside my head. "YOU ADDLEPATED DIMWITTED ORGAN GRINDER'S MONKEY, WE ARE NOT TALKING A RACK OF CLOTHING AT SEARS HERE. WE ARE TALKING NATURE. CERTAIN PLANTS ONLY *HAVE* CERTAIN COLOURS. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BLUE OENTHERA YOU CLUELESS WASTE OF PERFECTLY GOOD PROTOPLASM."
Fortunately, this happened in the summers back before I discovered the caffeinated wonder that is the iced tea so I just remained mute, mentally bitchslapping Snarky Gardening Bitch into silence.
Heaven only knows what sort of mayhem might have resulted if I'd been hepped up on the iced tea, eh.
My favourite experience, however, was the interior decorator who was horrified at how gardens were so, you know, MESSY what with flowers fading all the time and the occasional yellowing leaf. I happened to drive by her place one day about a month later and to my amazement saw that she had created a whole garden out of lifelike cloth flowers.
Well I guess she pretty much got rid of that messy nature business.
I left the wonderful world of professional gardening not long after that.
I had always had gardens here at home but after working all week in other people's gardens I did not throw a lot of myself into my own. It took a season after I quit working for others for me to remember what drew me to gardening originally.
Part of it is the tranquility I feel just working with the plants. I love snugging something into the ground and watching it grow over a season, over years.
Part of it is the continuity, the feeling that it is a project without end. It is never perfect, it always needs adjustments.
And finally, part of it is the pleasure of watching the slow but sure resurrection of my gardens each spring, which is as close to faith as I can come.
I am so very grateful to have all that back.
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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