CRRRITIC, It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens

The Smiling Faces of Spring

Rosa 'The Mermaid' twinkling and smiling at passersby from my garden fence

Rosa ‘The Mermaid’ twinkling and smiling at passersby from my garden fence


I am traveling to Brooklyn to do some garden business, and to see what spring looks like after a long, long winter. I am amazed at the pep in everyone’s step! Living for so long in Southern California, one takes the endless summer/spring for granted – but NOBODY seems to be taking the impending growing season for granted right here, right now! Happy New Yorkers, enjoying the blue skies and bursting buds.

On my end we have had practically no winter at all, just a few showers in what should be a monsoon season. Where I live, we get most of our rain in a 3-4 month period of time, with sprinkles of showers here and there if we are very lucky. We haven’t seen that normal pattern in years, so I’ve noticed people doing the sensible thing – they are removing their front lawns (YES!!!!!), and planting more water-wise gardens.

BUT – for me, gardens are part responsibility to our earth, neighbors, and future generations, and part fantasy. As I see these spare, unthirsty gardens going in with DG and my beloved pea gravel taking the fore, I am thrilled – but I find myself missing something. Succulents are so lovely and dependable, but the current demand for them has seen prices skyrocket, making specimens unusable for most. So we have scrubby natives and grasses being put in without any rhyme or reason, just kind of plopped and sad. The normal home gardener seemed to do better with lawn and Ligustrum. And I miss THE FLOWERS!!!

What about the flowers? People seem to be afraid of the roses, the birds of paradise, the calla lilies – the flowers that scream “HOLLYWOOD” to me. I have never been the biggest fan of these, but now I want them – my eye seems to need them. Is it just me being an iconoclast, a brat? You tell me. Maybe I want the thing I know is bad for me, but right now, with all of the dry dry dry I see at home, the beauty of an unnecessary, exuberant rose makes my heart sing like a bird.

I want more!

Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm, in the category CRRRITIC, It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens.
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One response to “The Smiling Faces of Spring”

  1. Jean Emery says:

    You are probably not old enough to remember the fifties and sixties when Southern Californians were replacing their lawns with green-tinted cement and white granite and red lava rock checkerboards. The decomposed granite is better, although in my neighborhood the current practice for house flippers is to put down landscape fabric, about a half inch of dg, which then washes or blows off and exposes the black, and a strategically placed succulent, agave or
    feather grass every five feet.

    I miss the lush spring back east too, but not the barren winter.