Saturday, October 13, 2007

Noted: Nice things take effort

Our four-square garden, which takes a lot of effort

Kelvin Browne writes about gardening, architecture in homes section in one of the Toronto papers, the National Post. The following excerpt is from his column today entitled, Nice things take effort:

Regardless of how fancy the house or garden, owners today want them to be low maintenance. Like low taxes, it's assumed to be a right. Just as spoiled children want rewards without work (and, of course, the truly entitled get them), homeowners now require grandeur without lifting a finger.

The most obvious example is summed up by the stupidest phrase in the English language -- "low-maintenance garden." A garden is all about maintenance in varying degrees. It's about nurturing something to become what you envision it should be. There are gardens that require less nurturing than others, but the idea remains. You start somewhere and expect, with dedication or at least periodic attention, to arrive, a few years later, somewhere else. The garden needs you. You're complimented on your stewardship, not your ability to pay for hundreds of perennials. When someone says they like your garden, they like more than your choice of landscape designer; they admire how you worked with him or her to achieve something that matters beyond its ability to increase your home's property value.

The low-maintenance blight has examples indoors, too. Napkins, for instance. You don't expect young people in their first home or with young children to set the dinner table with linen napkins; it's admirable they'd even try to have you over. But after that, paper napkins are lazy. Hosts often let themselves off the hook by saying they're not formal types but you're nonetheless eating in a dining room, having multiple courses and subjected to the husband talking about how good, a.k.a. expensive, the wine is. It says either they're lazy or you're not important enough to bother with. Low maintenance rules.
We've always taken "effort" to heart in garden, but not so much in house. Time to take more care there now that we have renovated. You can read the rest of this excellent column here: Nice things take effort.


  1. I love how structured that garden is, but how the structure is softened by the use of the grasses. Very nice!

  2. That is certainly worth the effort...absolutely beautiful.

  3. This is just to let you know that I posted the link you sent for the garden Bloggers' Carnival today. It was a great post which I agreed with thoroughly. And the same for this one. Thanks

  4. Thanks, Sue. All the best, Yvonne

  5. I really like the work and set up of the garden, very nice. The points the author makes in the article are very good to remember and use.

  6. I just stumbled on your site today. I'm already cruising the net for garden ideas .. plants .. the whole ball of wax we enjoy to keep that garden flame lit.
    My very amature blog
    May I add your blog to my very short list ?
    Love your gardens .. love the pea gravel and terra cotta pots .. reminds me of gardens in Holland and Germany ..nothing like the sound of the crunch walking on pea gravel .. haha
    Great site bye the way ! Thanks !
    Kingston ON


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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener