Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Get Your Garden



Nothing makes me smile more than hearing a fellow gardener say "I get your garden." That was exactly what happened when a gardening friend stopped by last week.  Those simple words made my heart sing.

It's gratifying when others appreciate the work that has gone into creating this garden for wildlife. My goal is to have a four season garden that is a delight to me as well as the critters. But, Clay and Limestone is not appreciated by everyone. I’ve seen the puzzled looks on visitors faces and watched them struggle to find something to say! I know they enjoy the spring drifts of Phlox pilosa and later the Penstemon calycosus, but, after the intense bloom of spring and before the late summer aster explosion, a shady Middle Tennessee garden is a lot of green! Some people have said it's too natural for their taste, others think it's not floriferous enough and one dear friend asked if Nashville had weed laws.

There was a time when I might have agreed with them.
just a bit ago in the front garden
But, that was once upon a time. Now, a conventional garden with neatly weeded beds that are filled with exotic plants is beautiful to behold, but, it's not the standard by which I measure my garden success. When I discovered the beauty and wildlife value of native plants, my gardening standards changed. Nowadays, decaying grasses and seed heads are left standing all winter, the beds are mulched with shredded leaves, and the Danthonia spicata lawnette is dotted with critter friendly 'weeds' like clover, dandelions and Salvia lyrata.

It looks beautiful to me and the critters that live and visit here seem pretty happy... that feels like success.


But, that doesn't mean that I am not deeply touched when you all 'get my garden'.
I am...

Thank you.

xxoogail

"And it's all right now
yeah, I learned my lesson well
You see, you can't please everyone
so you gotta please yourself.

- Rick Nelson



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

40 comments:

  1. Ricki says it best... I love your garden as do the critters.

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    1. Thank you..Lisa, you've seen it during the greenest of time. I wish you had been here earlier or later! Isn't that what a gardener always says.

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  2. I get your garden, dear Gail! It is beautiful and colorful. We both know that sometimes perceptions must be altered to truly appreciate nature. Weed law! Indeed!

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    1. Thank you dear...I am SO glad I have a good sense of humor.

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  3. It looks beautiful from here. I hope to walk through and enjoy it in person someday.

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  4. For the life of me I don't get, why all gardeners do not see the beauty in all gardens! If people only knew how hard it is to achieve the care-free look of a garden. Be Blessed!

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  5. I feel you joy and pain(people who don't get it).

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    1. The friend who gets it also wanted me to put my garden on tour, but, warned me that many traditional gardeners would be critical.

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  6. Beautiful and unique. Lovely images of your garden Gail. I would like to see it all in person so I can sit on that purple bench and watch the wildlife while sharing a bit of conversation with you.

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  7. I get your garden, too, Gail! And most importantly, so do the bees, birds, and all the other wildlife that flock to your garden. A couple of MG friends the other day were talking about covenants in some local subdivisions that prohibited certain things on people's properties; in some cases, they said they even controlled what kind of plants you could have--can you imagine?! Gardens are as unique as each of us.

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  8. I definitely get your garden! I am trying to establish my own wildlife garden and I can only hope that someday it looks as beautiful as yours.

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  9. I get your garden and it encourages me to be more attentive to the needs of wildlife in my own! I wish you could have been outside with me just now ... the bumbles and butterflies are everywhere!

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  10. My idea of the perfect garden has changed over the years, also. Right now I think the grasses and seedheads are beautiful, and I think the birds agree.

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  11. A gardening that is welcoming to wildlife (and people) is a beautiful garden by definition :)

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  12. your dear friend of weed laws ... has come round, seen the light, in the meantime??

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    1. Not at all Diana! But, he lives four states west of us so he never visits.

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  13. I get it too. The comment I receive most often is "that must be a lot of work", which it isn't, especially compared with trying to maintain a traditional lawn. Now that is work.

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  14. I think my new home is a blend. I try to keep as many natives as possible in the garden, adding a little color here and there. My wooded area is really wild and I know my neighbors kind of look at it as messy. (To think I was added to the HOA board as Architectural Review chair, hahhaa)
    I continue to learn from your choices, so much plant information.

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    1. I hope to see your garden sometime!

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  15. I get your garden, and hope one day to see it in person.

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  16. That's one of my favorite types of gardens, and somewhat like my own. I love the colors in your garden, Gail, and the benches and garden art really tie it all together.

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  17. Hi Gail, i wonder why my comment when nobody was here yet, didn't get through. I said i will not get your garden but get the last photo. I love the color and the blue bottles are so lovely! I think all of us outgrow some old passions and maybe garden styles too. Like me, i changed my passion for orchids when many of them got virus, so like you I am more of the natives now!

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    1. Andrea, It's okay not to get it, too. I love the bottle tree and think it helps to have something that striking in a natural garden like mine.

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  18. Heidi/ Woodland GardenNovember 8, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    I hope to one day see your garden in person. I have learned so much from your blogs as I am in the process of being re-educated on gardening. Nearly all my beds and borders have made the transition from non-natives to natives (2nd and 3rd years are coming in 2013). Still working to appreciate all the green in the summer both in our woods and in my gardens. ;-)

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    1. How exciting Heidi and I am glad I've been helpful. Do you live in Middle TN?

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  19. Get it, learn from it, AND love it. Thank you!

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  20. I am very thankful for my tolerant neighbors. Some of them love my garden, which is basically a wildlife garden. Others are diplomatic. I remember once I was (temporarily) filling in a new section of bed with bedding annuals. One of the diplomatic neighbors came by and exclaimed in surprise, "Oh, now THAT looks good!"

    The following spring it was filled with native perennials. I hated to disappoint her.

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  21. Make room on that bench for me, Layanee. I want to watch wildlife and share conversation too, Gail! xoxo

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    1. Victoria, You know you are always welcome! xoxo

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  22. It is wonderful when someone understands what one is doing. A lesson for me is also to try and understand a garden that seems very unusual, odd or weird. I want to be open to new ideas and viewpoints.

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  23. Not only do I get it but you have been a huge inspiration to me with my garden....just fabulous Gail!

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    1. Thank you Donna, that means a lot to me. xog

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  24. I completely get your garden! Gardens are not 'one size fits all' and I've had many people not 'get' my garden, either. What a boring world it would be if every garden were the same. :o)

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  25. We have a club here in northern Illinois called the Wild Ones. My Dad used to be a member. You would love it. They all share your philosophy exactly, but I don't believe any of them has a garden as amazing as yours. You have combined the most beautiful natives that your area has to offer. You have done a most amazing job. And more importantly, you have pleased yourself, which is all that really matters.

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  26. We certainly "get" your garden, it's beautiful, and the standard that I hold my dreams of a similar one up to. One day, I too will have pollinators, and birds, and creatures that are as happy as those that inhabit your garden.

    If someone doesn't get it, show them some of your stunning insect shots, it will all be crystal clear after that.

    Jen

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  27. I get your garden, Gail! And even though some visitors might think of it as unstructured, I know you can't get the kinds of shots you got in this post without the thoughtful structure of focal points and well placed art that plays so well with the plants in your garden.

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  28. I get it, Gail. You, and others, continue inspiring me to add more natives to ours.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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