When I began my horticultural journey some 9 years ago, I was drawn to the idea of growing amazing manicured gardens full of wonderful and rare plants. I was first and foremost a plant nerd, and if I came across anything in a nursery that was tagged as “rare” or “unusual” it was a must-have for my gardens. There is definitely something to be said for the classical formal garden style, the feeling that comes over you while wandering through pathways lined with topiaries and mass plantings of perennial color is somewhat overwhelming and soothing at the same time.
As my adventure through the plant world has progressed, however, I’ve found myself becoming more drawn to the idea of growing things that can help meet the needs of myself and my family. Producing food, conserving resources, and reducing waste all became more intriguing principles to live & work by instead of hunting for rare, unusual plants and creating conventional formal gardens. This has profoundly increased since the birth of my first son back in 2015. Creating gardens that are sustainable resilient, and productive offers many more rewards than perfectly manicured hedgerows. The chance to pass on what I’ve learned in the garden as well as watch my son learn and create is so much more fulfilling than creating the most intricate topiary specimen.
As I continue my journey and went through the process of earning my Permaculture Design Course Certificate, the principles and values I have learned only help reinforce my desire to live and work in ecologically sound, sustainable, and resilient ways. Although I also think there is a time and place for integration between my former plant nerd self and my newfound passion for ecological health. There’s always room for one of the new disease resistant Rose varieties that offer that old fashioned intoxicating beauty and fragrance without the need for pesticides or chemical inputs. Focus on native plant varieties can be pared with a planting of Hardy Banana without sacrificing sustainability. Learning and practicing permaculture has been an eye opening, inspiring experience and remains ever evolving. But I’ve learned that I don’t have to surrender my love for interesting and unusual plants in order to achieve my goal of creating a beautiful, sustainable, and resilient home garden.