With my desire for productivity and for beauty sometimes at odds it makes sense to have a look at this conflict – if conflict it actually is.
It comes as a no-brainer that my insisting on productivity is linked to the size of land I have in my care. Quarter of an acre, that is.
I am no big fan of intensive gardening – I want nature to give me enough of what I want, not a glut of everything. I do not wish to exhaust the land or, heavens forbid, work too much to restore fertility of the land afterwards
That means I have only a limited allowance of fertility available to me, so it makes sense to grow something that I can use.
But beauty… ah, beauty is just as important. Not to say that productive plants aren’t beautiful. Just that I have this quirk of reacting to showy, OTT beauty.
There is an abundance of extravagant scent passing by a fence trailing with jasmine and honeysuckle, a disturbing wealth of trembling in a stand of poplars and maples, an uncompromising quality to tractor seat plants and barberry and a deceptive frailty to pink then cream then green toon trees. And this is still spring, so I am not even going to go near fir trees rising from the snow, or ginkos blazing gold in autumn or the post-card worthiness of pohutukawa in bloom at Christmas (summer!).
I want all of the above and more!
And the only limiting factor at the moment (if you do not wish to count ignorance) is acreage. I may be able to squeeze quite a number of fruit trees on a quarter acre, but for the rest of the forest I dream of I need a lot more space, given that I am not into hortitorture (as my tutor called bonsai, espaliers, pleaching and other bending of the nature laws to human whim).
Some people tell me they are looking for a flat piece of land to build a house, I am asking for a couple of hills cattle have trouble navigating. Others are downsizing while I try to go all out and all over the place And when others are discussing the merits of easy care low maintenance minimalist zen borders I am learning to propagate cuttings so that I have more, more and yet more of every single specimen I encounter. No, I am not looking down at those others, I like all their gardens, I just… dream of a forest.
Because it takes all sorts, the native gardeners and the foliage gardeners and the ornamental gardeners and the orchardists and…. And forest people. Like I want to be.
Day time is easy: finish with the mortgage, set the little one up, find a piece of land that suits and go forest.
I would like to see that forest…