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Garden Aesthetics Pt I

  • Subject: Garden Aesthetics Pt I
  • From: gw1944@vermontel.net (Glen Williams)
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 11:36:44 -0400

                                Garden Aesthetics Part I

Sometime I would like to create a profile of a HOSTA COLLECTOR  and the
profile of an ordinary gardener who enjoys hostas and has perhaps 10 or 20
in his/her garden. The psychological divide between these two groups goes
to the heart of good and evil in the 21 st century. However, I will save
that for another time.  The branch of garden aesthetics I want to write
about  provides the same cannon fodder for  a war that continues to be
fought  in every garden in this great country. If this were a special
documentary by Ken Burns on "Gardens in America", you would now be
listening to "America the Beautiful" as hummed by the Vienna Boys'
Choir..... with any accordion playing softly....

But not today.

What I am going to write about  is another great divide. This divide is
wonderfully illustrated in the world of hostas, but it exists with most all
of the annuals and perennials  with which we populate our gardens. The
problem is a Puritan/Purist problem that has haunted us for 400 years. The
Catholic Church has lectured at great length on the subject for eons. The
French have strong feelings on the subject and the English are notoriously
hypocritical about the topic as expressed in the Victorian Age. Early
Americans dealt with it by using boards to divide the beds. Our Supreme
Court has tried to deal with it by interpreting various parts of the
constitution  in the name of one side or the other in the great divide.

Gardeners epitomize the problem. Always the voyeur, Darwin watched it take
place inside one square yard on a English moor and took copious notes.

And now, (to the music of Strauss's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra") is the
problem for hosta folk and all other gardeners for that matter:


Should hostas exist in solitary glory,  grown to perfection and clumphood,
or should they be allowed to mingle,touch , and stroke the leaves of their
fellow  hosta companions? Can H. 'Big John' be allowed to approach H.
'Painted Lady"? If H. 'Ryan's Big One' is seen at the outskirts of H.
'Afternoon Delight' can cross pollination be far behind? The list is as
endless and the names are provocative: H. 'Purple Passion', H. 'Lakeside
Love Affaire', H. 'Venus',  H. 'Paul's Glory', H. 'Aphrodite',  H. 'Slick
Willie'..........this is all clearly the stuff best delivered in plain
brown wrappers.

"Can devolution be far behind?" Geraldo Rivera
Glen Williams
20 Dewey St.
Springfield , Vermont
Tel: 802-885-2839 

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