The Mature Garden

photoAnything added to a mature garden has to serve more than one purpose because there just isn’t enough space left for features or plants that can’t do double duty.

This year, for example, I added this large Tuscan pot that I’m currently using as a water feature. It does double duty because it provides a pleasant sound that masks street noise and the small birds are attracted to the trickling water.

I surrounded it with a spill of pea gravel that partly disguises the electric chord, but it also adds to the Tuscan feel.

I used to have to chairs on this bit of flagstone, but I like the pot better because it showcases the stone rather than covering it up. This was an unexpected benefit of making this change.

Adding this pot wasn’t a major renovation, but that’s exactly my point.  In the maturing garden, you don’t need to tear out whole beds or swathes of hardscaping to get a fresh new look. Or a fresh new sound.

What I’m learning as my garden approaches the grand old age of fifteen years is that mature gardening involves more thinking and analyzing than acting.

When your garden beds consist of lots of immature shrubs with vast empty stretches in between, pretty much anything that fills those spaces looks good.  Not so when you have mature shrubs or trees that may have changed the original light conditions but that can’t be moved without great expense or effort.  Now you have to think hard and be strategic about what would improve that bed rather than just be “something different.”

Working within a narrow set of parameters forces you to be creative. It’s satisfying to solve a garden problem and then realize you’ve grown and matured right along with your garden.

No matter how mature, no garden is ever truly “done.”

Maybe that’s why I love it so much.

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