The Coastal Gardener: Create the garden you've always wanted

September 03, 2010|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • I garden rather selfishly; and I seldom invite others into my garden. But, on September 16 at a meeting of The OC Native Plant Society, I'll be sharing pictures of my new garden. I'll share some of my successes and failures and explain the process I took.
I garden rather selfishly; and I seldom invite others… (Daily Pilot )

In about an hour I am visiting a friend's garden in Newport Beach. I've never seen his garden, but after knowing him for a few years I certainly have a picture in my head of what I think it will be like.

My friend is a landscape water conservation expert, one of the best in the West actually, and he invited me over to sit down for a few minutes and brainstorm some ways the city might encourage its residents toward even greater water conservation practices.

But, he also invited me over simply to see his garden. I'm certainly looking forward to the visit.

But I'm not quite so sharing with my own garden.

Although I love my garden, I consider it "my" garden. The plants, the structure, the colors, everything – they're what appeal to me. I'm a plant collector, a workaholic, a father, a nature fan, a businessman and like many of you, a cash-strapped homeowner, doing my best to make a living.


My garden is the outcome of all qualities and realities.

Different people garden for different reasons. You might garden because you enjoy beautiful flowers, or perhaps to provide fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables for your family. Maybe you garden to enhance your home and its appearance or maybe because you need an area to entertain and a place for others to relax and enjoy. All of these are fine reasons to garden.

Honestly, I garden rather selfishly. I pretty much don't worry about what others think about the plants I cultivate, the pots, the patio, the flowers, the colors, the textures, or any other opinions of what I have created. It's not for them anyway; it's for me – and the birds and the lizards.

That said, I'm not out of touch. I do garden responsibly, doing my best to conserve resources, encourage wildlife and generally reduce any negatives of my gardening footprint.

Although often asked, I seldom invite people into my garden. Instead, I would rather paint a picture of my garden; a picture painted with words. Sometimes the illusion is more powerful than the reality. Sailing might be that way. An intimate conversation with a celebrity might be that way. A visit to Cape Town, South Africa, might be that way. Space travel might be that way.

And my garden might be that way. I do my best to keep the illusion alive. Why spoil it with reality?

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