The color of July

What makes a great garden?

Ask five people this question and you’ll get five different answers.  I suppose to me ‘great’ brings to mind images from glossy magazines of perfectly tended beds with perfectly deadheaded blooms and not a blade of grass out of place.  If you didn’t know this already, this is not a garden … this is a magazine shoot!  Real gardens only vaguely resemble this.

When I was twentysomething I decided I wanted to grow things.  My first attempts resulted in a lot of frustration and I thought I just must not have a green thumb.  Then my six-year-old stuck some nasturtium seeds in the ground, and … they grew!!  Not to be outdone by a grade-schooler, I set out to make my thumbs green.

Over the years I’ve come to know plant names, learned the value of good soil, and perfected growing from seed.  I’ve built gardens and ponds and vegetable beds.  But to get back to my question, what makes a garden great?  Is it good design?  Exotic plants?  Well-placed statuary?  Or does historical significance elevate it to greatness, as in Monet’s Garden, or the gardens at Versailles, or even something more simple like Celia Thaxter’s garden on the Isles of Shoals?

I like to think that “great” is in the eye of the beholder.  A great garden will have butterflies, a few weeds, and crayon-box colors … whatever else you decide to put in it doesn’t really matter.  Here in July those three things are likely at their peak – basking in the sunshine along with the dragonflies, hummingbirds and (in my case) lazy cats.

Here’s hoping your garden is brimming with the colors of July.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pull some weeds…

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5 responses to “The color of July

  1. It looks like your thumbs have become a glorious green! Great garden! Great photos! Great writing!

  2. My idea of the perfect garden is one someone else tends….I have a VERY black thumb. Plants look at me, scream, and die. I do try, though! I love a pretty garden, but really hate to be the one to make it look that way. You, however, have done an amazing job! Love the pictures, as always.

  3. Hi Paige! Just wanted to let you know that I passed on the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award to you – here’s the link to my post: http://tcknextstop.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/sisterhood-of-the-world/

    Please don’t feel obligated to pass it on, but I do hope it will bring more readers to your wonderful blog!

    p.s. I absolutely love the photos in this post – they’re beautiful!

  4. I’ll leave the gardens, ponds, photos to you. If you don’t mind, I will sit in judgement and give you GLOWING reviews …time after time. You continue to amaze me as you gather just the right images to complete your stories. Keep them coming. D

  5. I remember your Mom’s gorgeous dahlias. She spent hours tending to them and the flowers never failed to impress everyone in the neighborhood. I also remember your dahlia/Kool-Aid stand. I was a regular. I also agree with you on how photogenic this particular flower is. According to your photos it looks like you at least inherited your Mom’s green pinkie, if not thumb. What makes a great garden? Love and respect of the earth and the beauty one receives in return, that is the reward of a great garden.

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