Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is It Garden Snark?

As I meandered across the internet searching for information on…I can’t remember what anymore, I bumped into a blog called Garden Rant via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. My initial reaction was who the hell do these four women think they are bringing snark into my peaceful garden world. Sure, I’ve argued that growing flowers is just as important as growing vegetables and I’ve written a fair share of flimsy, nothing new garden articles for websites, but hard work begets romance in my garden world and I like it that way. So after reading a few rants I wrote a rant of my own tossing in snark here and there to grow a point. Like all angry, emotional writers, I tossed the missive into the closest compost heap aka the delete key.

Somewhere between checking out each ranters bio and reading a few posts, I came across a blurb about the nonsense of using broken pots in container gardening. Besides what I initially viewed as garden snark, I felt personally affronted that anyone thought my mother’s method of growing was a myth or nonsensical. I learned to garden from my mother who SUCCESSFULLY grew myriads of houseplants all in containers with shards of clay pots in the bottom and from my mother-in-law. Together those two important women in my life made up 40 plus years of gardening experience growing vegetables, roses, herbs, and a plethora of flowers.

After I simmered down, I went back to the Garden Rant and read more. Now that the shock that my mom might have been doing something wrong wore off, I could rate the blog with a less emotional view. Yes, I’m eating humble pie…I liked it. I like the edgy writing and I especially like the groups dislike of too pretty, too fast HGTV gardening bunk. I don’t watch gardening shows on TV. I would add one more dislike when it comes to garden TV and glossy magazines…most of the ideas are too expensive for the tight budgets a good share of Americans are on in the current economy.

We all want something new, but I also delve into the gardens of the past through garden writers like Rosetta E. Clarkson, Gertrude Jekyll, and Henry Beston. I see romance in a flower garden where someone else sees solitude, drama, or whatever. That’s the grand part of gardening….it is whatever you want it to be with hard work. Read the everything’s comin’ up roses blogs, read the poison ivy sting of blogs like Garden Rant, read the facts and check out the legend and lore, but in the end take what you will and make it your own.
Now get out there and read a few garden blogs on a rainy day!

PS I’m doing a little research on my own to discover if placing broken pieces of clay pots or stones in the bottom of containers is indeed necessary. I’ll get back with you on that one.


  1. I always put something in the bottom of my flower pots. Whether it was gravel from the driveway when I lived in the country, or gravel from my fish aquarium now that I live in the city (where all the driveways are paved and there's not a loose stone to be found), there's always something in the bottom of my pots for good drainage. I don't remember anybody ever teaching me this. It sort of mimics the natural world, and that makes sense to me.

  2. Thanks for the comment Mary Jo. I've always used stones or broken clay pots, the way my mom did. It does make sense, which is why I was surprised when I saw that. I went back to find the statement, but couldn't. I planted a basket of flowers for the front step and didn't add anything to the bottom. Let's see if how IT grows.

  3. Went back to find, but couldn't. Happens to me again and again. Am learning to capture what interests me or it disappears back into its place in the web, and me, I can never find it again!

  4. Well, you don't want the brilliant homemade compost to run out of the bottom, now would you?
    Best to stuff something down to half cover the holes. I use left over bits of that white packaging styrofoam, as all my broken clay pots have been used up.
    Having different strata in planting seems to have been deemed inappropriate. Cornell did a study some years back and decided that a homogenous mixture is best. Not quite off-topic :-)


Treasured comments from treasured friends...