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Do You Garden Large?

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Report From PIA – November 18

I got a tweet from landscape designer Duncan Brine the other day, commenting that I am on a “philosophical roll” here at Whole Life Gardening. Duncan’s twitter name is @GardenLarge, and I like his grand approach to gardening.

Duncan does garden large. On his website he says “Nature is big…I like big plants and big flowers for big spaces. 
And things in mass, because it gives them a natural feeling.”

When I read @GardenLarge’s tweet, my immediate thought was we’re both doing the same thing: planting lushly. Duncan believes in theatrical, and substantial landscaping, and I’m interested in extending my gardening experience into everything else. I want to cultivate the biggest garden there is: my whole life.

In fact, when I speak on The Eight Rules For Being A Successful Gardener, “Plant Lushly” is one of the eight. On a practical, gardening level, planting lavishly can make for attractive gardens. Too many people are tempted to plant one of this kind of plant, and another of that kind of plant. Soon their entire landscape is a blur, a pointillist painting where nothing stands out and everything gets lost in the haze.

Pleasing garden design depends, in part, on using the right plant in the right place, and in many instances, once that perfect plant is found, you want to use a swath, or group of it. Occasional specimen plants are fine, but a grouping makes an impact…it has power.

When something is right in our lives, when we see what is good, productive or kind, we should plant a lot of it. When we go the extra mile at work, or devote time to a cause that benefits children or those who are disadvantaged, we are planting lushly. If we organize a children’s garden, or take charge of planting a traffic island, we are cultivating more than those plants that go into these gardens.

Love, compassion, thoughtfulness, faith and joy should all be gardened large.

Even a small garden, such as my former tiny landscape, can be planted with larger groups of plants. Here, Aster 'Woods Blue', Fanfare Impatiens, and Asclepias 'Silky Red' make a splash in September.

Even a small garden, such as my former tiny landscape, can be planted with larger groups of plants. Here, Aster 'Woods Blue', Fanfare Impatiens, and Asclepias 'Silky Red' make a splash in September.

Poison Ivy Acres is larger than my former garden, and calls for even larger groups of plants. I'm just getting started.

Poison Ivy Acres is larger than my former garden, and calls for even larger groups of plants. I'm just getting started.

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