Posted May 2, 2012
Passion in a Garden? Imagine…
By Spencer Larsen, Landscape Designer
Passion in a garden, are you out of your mind? That’s it! That’s what it’s all about. When it comes to designing a garden, first I think it starts with finding your passion. If you take a moment to think of some of the most important things in your life I am willing to bet there is a place for it in the garden. There are so many different elements that can be part of a garden. Size, family, utility, sport, entertainment, retreat, therapy, education, healing and family this is a list that could help to root out what or where your passions may lie. Maybe in just one or all of the areas and believe me my list is just a start. There are a lot of crazies out there, who knows maybe garden Gnomes will have a comeback. Most gardens will have a few of these elements incorporated, but the true passion needs to come from within the end user of any garden.
Not to state the obvious, but size first is going to be determined by how much space there is to work with and where your passion lies and let me tell you size does matter. Whether we are talking about the Grand Canyon or a prized terrarium, your options are endless. Ok, maybe the Grand Canyon is a little over the top to fit into the average garden, but the beauty and serenity of the Grand Canyon isn’t. Available space, large or small presents the same challenges. A lot of times people want to be able to entertain 30 people in a postage stamp sized yard or need a quaint place to reflect amongst two acres, rarely do we get the ideal backyard for our different passions. Some of the most challenging sites are almost always the most rewarding. What if you are lucky enough to have say, the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, the Tetons, the Adirondacks or maybe just a simple Lake Michigan at your back door. When your lucky enough to have these awe inspiring views at your disposal you have the ability to be connected, space to be alone for reflection and plenty of room for your 30 friends. What if you’re also lucky enough to have a 20×40 billboard or a new apartment building that was a surprise to everyone, replace your view of say, the Tetons? Bummed, I would guess as much. Again some of the most challenging sites often provide the most reward. Now that we have determined the size of the garden we have to work with, it is time to do a little dance, make a little list and get down tonight. Ok, Ok some of my passions are starting to leak, and make a little list is probably not one of them.
After reflection maybe utility is your pick. Getting your fingers dirty and plunging your hands into the soil gives you a sense of connection to something much larger and is one of your passions that provides you the most therapy. When you are knee deep you are finally at peace. Who knows your passion might include a community garden in a metro area that teaches kids and adults where tomatoes actually come from and how they don’t just magically appear from the back room of their local grocery store. Maybe a local farmers market and its customers will be the benefactors of your hard work and back breaking therapy. I know this is an old fashioned thought, but just maybe our families could be lucky enough to have garden fresh at every meal. I think the time to grow gardeners is upon us. Welcome to the revolution.
If utility is definitely not in the cards, maybe you are a sports fanatic. Golfing, football, basketball, baseball, horse shoes, bean bags, shuffle board, ice dancing; well maybe not ice dancing, but to list a few of the options for sports in your garden. Size surely can play a role in your passion for sports and how it fits in the garden. Golfing could be just a simple putting green with a couple of holes or a bulls-eye on your neighbors deck, dog or …, you fill in the blank for you to practice with your new set of Taylor Made woods. Basketball could be a simple one on one afternoon spare or a full on dunk contest with the gang, trying to find out who the next Michael Jordan is on a seven foot rim. Maybe it is playing a simple game of catch or half of the sandlot with the beast always in the shadow waiting for the next trophy. Sometimes sport can spill over into entertainment. What if you could have the boys over this year to watch March Madness on the big screen next to the outdoor fireplace while cooking a pizza in your new pizza oven. Now that’s entertainment! What if watching the crazy next door spend a Saturday watering, weeding and pruning the day away. Entertaining? Depends, it could be like watching a car wreck and you know you shouldn’t watch, but you just can’t help yourself. Or you happen to live next door to the desperate housewives, or who knows it is the twenty first century and the newest show on the block might be the desperate househusbands. I know, it doesn’t have the same ring to it. Where ever your passion lies get it on the list.
Sometimes you just need a spot. That could be a sprawling meadow were its just you, the birds, bees and a boulder to sit on and all the fresh air you can handle. If all you have is a 10×10 spot. Great, all you need is a few grasses, a couple coneflowers a nice big boulder for a seat and if you are in the city maybe a small little fieldstone fountain to loose the noise. Even In the city you might be able to entice a few of the birds and bees to join you. Once you can get to your spot all that might be all the therapy you need.
Therapy and healing can go hand in hand. To find a place that you can dump the stress from the day can be is a great start to a new therapy treatment. Healing gardens can be a place to get out of the house take a small stroll through a garden. I am positive that the opportunity to get fresh air in your lungs and some sun on your back will start you on a path to healing what ever ailment you have been fighting. Hopefully the hospital community starts to see the opportunities in seeing what fresh air and a stroll through a meadow might provide vs. a sterile hospital bed.
Last but surely not least is family. It doesn’t matter if it is one or twenty. I can’t thing of a better place to start a family get together than a garden you have put all your passions into. A great time to share your talents and visions and maybe test out a few new recipes. Most of which were grown in the utility part of your garden and prepared in the cooking part of your garden and then enjoyed in the entertainment part of your garden. Maybe after supper there is still time to play a game of bean bags and then off to the fire pit for a night cap and maybe a roasted marshmallow or two. I would encourage you with spring fever in the air to start to think and dream about what your passions might be and get ready to be invited out into your own little slice of heaven. Just remember the bees are almost a buzzing and there is no better time than now to start making your list. Passion in a Garden? Imagine…