My Garden Philosophy Ilona Erwin Jul 29, 2007 No Comment

I think we each, as gardeners, have a prevailing opinion of what gardening is, and it dictates the manner in which we build our gardens. Gardening lends itself to such tailoring. It can be an occupation, a science, a personal interest, an art; and we take from it and give to it with the proportions -that in some sense- reflect our own makeup.

For me, gardening is primarily an art form. Maybe that is why it has given me such highs and lows in terms of successful outcomes. Like a Da Vinci painting his masterpiece without forethought to the longevity of his medium, we can build our gardens with less of the science that makes it thrive; or we combine the art and the science, but our time and occupation with it cannot compete commensurately with other demands of our lives.

Art is a forgiving mistress often enough, and the innate beauty of nature creates its own artistry. In those occasions I find I simply need the ability to appreciate it. It is those times when I find it enough just to breathe in the garden's fragrance or inspect the incredible intricacy of skeletonized leaves.

Still, it is the challenge of combining plants and their many colors and forms that most interests me in gardening.

-The construction of views or symmetry-

I also think of the garden as living poetry, which is why in my webpages I tend to add art and poems to the nuts and bolts of garden technique. I believe we create feeling in our garden. I have seen gardens and pictures of them which are harsh, brash, and bold- they awaken the mind and they surprise. Some are full of fantasy, as if you stepped into a strange fairy world where everything is soft and misty and sweet. Those which are peaceful and reposed are some of my own favorites, and the ones that provide discoveries of small interesting things for those with eyes to look.

This has given me less opinionated "do's and don'ts" in a garden style and more eclectic appreciation of the messages of gardens and their creators. I still have my pet peeves, don't mistake me in that... but gardening is more about the myriad ways to enjoy life and the great boon of a beautiful day in the ephemerally perfect combination of time, plants, and the creative genius of the place and person.

"Ever since I could remember anything, flowers have been like dear friends to me, comforters, inspirers, powers to uplift and to cheer. " -Celia Thaxter

Days Too Short

WHEN primroses are out in Spring,
And small, blue violets come between;
When merry birds sing on boughs green,
And rills, as soon as born, must sing;

When butterflies will make side-leaps,
As though escaped from Nature's hand
Ere perfect quite; and bees will stand
Upon their heads in fragrant deeps;

When small clouds are so silvery white
Each seems a broken rimmed moon--
When such things are, this world too soon,
For me, doth wear the veil of night.

-W.H. Davies

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by Ilona Erwin

A gardener, blogger, writer, who has been blogging here since 2004, and writing for my website, Ilona's Garden since 1998.

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