Slow Gardening by Sally Gregson

September 6, 2013

in Articles, General Interest

Do you have the patience?

Here is Sally Gregson, shooting herself in the foot: a nurserywoman encouraging us to think (and look and think some more?) before we buy…

Anne Wareham, Editor

Hydrangea flower , Veddw copyright Anne Wareham for thinkingardens

Why a hydrangea? See Sally’s nursery…

Sally Gregson:

Several years ago in Italy Carlo Petrini started the Slow Food Movement in protest against the proposed McDonald’s at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Since then the idea of taking time to prepare, savour, and enjoy food in the company of others has grown to encompass other aspects of our stressful lives. Perhaps it’s time for the idea of Slow Gardens to take root.

Presented with a new, often very small, garden it’s all too tempting to budget for a one-off, quick-fix visit to the garden centre and cram the space with perennials and annuals just like they once did on that renowned gardening programme. But gardens are not just about ‘exterior decorating’.

After a couple of years the perennials get too big, the bullies overwhelm the pretties – and the garden becomes an overcrowded, unsatisfactory mess. Over-planting in the first place; not allowing for the potential growth and ultimate size of those plants and needing to dig out out any that fail to live up to expectations combines to cause a deep sense of dissatisfaction. Instant gratification has its penalties in gardens as in fast-food outlets.

August 2013 Veddw copyright Anne Wareham 027 Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lanarth White' for thinkingardens

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lanarth White’

Surely the deeper pleasures and satisfaction of gardening lie not just in creating a framework and getting the planting right, but in allowing it to evolve and mature; to drive the dynamics of the space; and to create new environments and different ecologies. Maybe, in the manner of the ‘slow’ movement, it’s time to relax our anxious need to control nature; enjoy the gentle pace of the changing seasons; and allow for the natural development of our gardens.

Sally Gregson – website (of nursery)

Sally Gregson portrait on thinkingardens Copyright Martin Mulchinock







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