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Form vs. Function

Report From PIA – June 27

Knowing that hundreds of people will be visiting my property this week, I want it to be as close to perfect as possible. Which is impossible, if we’re being absolutely truthful here. My garden isn’t a stage set, and we live here.

There are piles of wood waiting to be split for the woodstove, flats of seed-grown plants in the shed still waiting to be potted up for future planting, and assorted other unfinished projects that await completion. I in no way intend to hide all of these.

When I was an art major at The University of Wisconsin, there were many class discussions about form verses function. Is it more important for things to look good or for them to work well? As a young student it seemed that such decisions could be made in classrooms, based on ideals, but as an adult I’m aware that if we’re smart our decision to side with form or function really needs to be more fluid.

We know too that sometimes what is most functional is also most beautiful. A clay flowerpot, a wine bottle, or a stack of split logs, for example. Life is always a combination of form and function, and nowhere is it more so than in the garden.

Part of this garden is fully planted, part is not. The logs await cutting and splitting, so it's an area that is part form, part function, and still in flux.

3 comments to Form vs. Function

  • I can totally relate to your story as I had my garden open last week. I asked myself why I did that to myself as well. It always turns out to be a fun day.

  • Kristin,
    Yes – the thing I like about having my garden on tour is after it’s over I get to enjoy the garden in it’s primed and spiffy tour state.

  • MaryK

    CL, I am so excited to visit your garden on Wednesday. I do follow (make that stalk) your blog daily. People who are looking for absolute perfection need to visit gardens with a huge maintenance crew. Personally, I have a crew of one, and I am much more inspired by home gardens that reflect the love and passion of the homowner. YOU inspire me! See you on Wed.