Grand Simplification: Taking stock of the mess

GS_front_gardenThe unvarnished truth: My front garden, complete with hose and bald patches, doing its best to pose for its “before” picture at right.

That headline almost said “Taking stock of the carnage.” After summer’s heat and drought, my garden – especially the front garden – usually does look like a battlefield by September. (To my credit, in June, above, it didn’t look as bad.) Anything left standing by fall has a Spartan constitution.

Usually, I say. Summer 2009 was atypically wet and cool, making this a bad year to assess successes (assess successes assess successes: you try now) and, more likely, failures.

Nevertheless, when renovating a garden one has to begin somewhere. Right now, I’m in the process that Marjorie Harris calls “creative staring.” For me, it’s a wordless state involving a blank mind and a very messy slate.

Cheating here, as this shot of the back garden was taken two weeks ago. Due to its smaller size and relatively loose soil, this might be where I begin, though the front garden is the more needy (and embarrassing).

My first step: Take stock of what’s working (aka living) and what isn’t. What has thrived, and what is struggling. What really belongs in someone else’s garden, and what can stay for now… until I take the next drastic step (for me): Actually making a plan.

The results of my stocktaking will appear in a subsequent post.


  1. I like your line, "take stock of what's working (aka living)". Funny.

    Although when I think of my own sad front garden this year, I have things that *are* living…but not exactly burgeoning. My Clara Curtis chrysanthemum that barely bloomed, the Rudbeckia goldsturm that was just leaves (drooping).

    With hope, next year they will look a little more alive.

  2. I like your style! I'm a great advocate of 'creative staring' too, especially when it also involves step sitting right in the middle of the garden 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Creative Staring is what I do best. To be really effect though it needs to be done for a full day so you can watch the light, sip on the seasonal beverage of choice and maybe catch a nap in the hammock.

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