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I grow plants to be fully appreciated for what they are. Not with any intention to be "neat". A nice mounded hebe is spoiled by a thug next door to it for example. A beautiful conifer overwhelmed by a vigorous dahlia then has no distinct form. A hosta grown over by an energetic rambling geranium is spoiled.
Some plants look good "mixing it up"........a blue geranium running into a group of rudbekias.......but "neatness" enables the protected plants to look good in the winter time.
I guess I am a "neat" gardener. I like to see an echinacea, for example, showing off its flowers......and foliage.....without another plant merging with it. Associations can still be arranged....and look better......if space is allowed between them for each to display its own individual beauty.
So, is neatness a swear word for you folks? If you like your plants tumbling into one another to form a tapestry of colour then I guess you will say "yes....neatness is not proper gardening. It's not as nature intended"
So, who are the neat gardeners? Why? And why not?
I have always been annoyingly tidy. My wife would say I'm just annoying! For good or for ill I'm always going to be neat in the garden as well. I just can't help myself. I have to constantly resist the temptation to strim the grass in the churchyard down to the ground. Whilst I know it looks just a nice (if not nicer) as a wild flower meadow with just a couple of paths mowed through it and is far better for wildlife it takes me all of my will power not to reach for the strimmer.
I'm certainly not neat. In the garden or in my appearance or anywhere that I can think of.
It's not a swear word though. Just beyond my capabilities
I'm not neat. I have every intention,,,, but then the sneaky plants get away from me with their exuberance.
My garden is small enough to keep neat, although this is still time consuming.
I like to maintain some distance between plants, even if just a few cm, if only for airflow and to stop disease.
I like to see every plant reach its capabilities but sometimes its a little too much so I step in and 'tidy' them up
Neat? I'm not even tidy the under-gardener is forever complaining that I have left a trail of implements behind me as my mind wanders from job to job and I get distracted. I have this peculiar idea that at some point, the garden will be 'finished'. And when it is finished, I will tidy away all the stuff that I have left out in the course of doing it. But the garden is never 'finished'. I am trying really hard to 'do' tidy. 'Neat' I fear, will be a long time coming.
is this what you mean-seriously, de gustibus........
I am not neat I am artistic, or at least thats what I say I am. I do like a nicely cut lawn edge though, it seems to enhance the messiness of everything else.
I do agree with you Verdun, in that I think certain specimens should be able to stand out from the crowd, but other than that I like the wild look, or the jungle look in the hot border.
I'm not neat or tidy, probably overwhelmed! An acre of garden & a big veggie plot, housework, cooking, social life, horses, dog and not getting any younger. And I get distracted, I see a weed, not where I was weeding but elsewhere so first bit doesn't get finished and I'm bound to leave a tool behind, always mislaying secateurs. Or there is a rose to smell or a new flower out, then the phone goes and I never do empty that wheelbarrow, well I do when I next need it! I don't even through away potting compost bags, they might come in handy one day. And if tools break they get left in the tiny shed or the lean too in case I get around to mending them. Need a decent outbuilding for all the "stuff";
Oh Busy Lizzie - that's exactly what I mean! I have two weed grubbers, and I've lost both of them in this way. I refuse to pay a tenner for a third one (the other two will turn up when the vegetation dies down in the autumn) but it is not the same trying to wrestle a dandelion root with an old chisel
David that is one beautiful explosion there!
Neat & tidy don't know the meaning of the words, distraction now there's a word, i go to bed at night thinking of the main jobs to do in the garden next day, next day comes wonder into garden spot a plant needing pruned, a flower needing dead headed, before i no it im pottering and the main jobs are getting put on the back burner until tomorrow, then it all begins again, yes i formulate planting schemes in my head, but the never end up even close to what was in my head to start with...
I'm trying to be neat, but my plants have gone mad this year, even ones I have had for several years have suddenly come to life (it may have something to do with me feeding them which I have never done before!!!!), so now my garden isn't neat and looks a bit overgrown so some serious moving about and dividing to be done when I can.
My GH I like to keep neat but at the minute it looks like a bomb's hit it....it will be neat again soon when I've finished planting everything and tidied up!!
When I first started gardening I tried to be neat.Nice trimmed borders etc but somewhere that got lost in the chaos that is nature. The shrubs at the bottom need pruning right back...the flowering redcurrant,forsythia,the honeysuckle rambling around the old dog kennel where I keep my junk.I've got self seeded violets under there which probably wouldn't have been if I'd been neater with my pruning.I love the randomness of nature and straight lines don't do it for me.Each to their own though,which is the beauty of gardening.
Interestimg replies. Like David's garden though.
My own soon...with the heleniums, dahlias, agastaches, lupins, delphiniums, acteas, etc etc...... do cross swords a little and I like that but there is still a neatness control .
MrsGarden, I too have that impulse to have everything but if the "perfect" spot is not immediately found those impulsive buys are potted and I wait. It helps that I don't use many,,if any, annuals though. Most times the space occurs. Oh, the height thing......try some taller stuff. It doesnt necessarily mean more space is needed and tall spires are magic in the garden.
Have to confess though...neat lawn, oh yes! Has to be lush, green, striped and mown twice a week.
I like the way that the 'neat bits', straight lawn edges and rows of vegetables etc, accentuate the lush burgeoning bounteous overspillng of the flower beds and the rambling scrambling nature of the climbers on the fences and trellises and the wildness of the little wilderness.
For me, you can't have one without the other
I like neat. I like straight lines, sharp edges, right angles, things in threes or fours to create triangles and squares, and a general nice uniformity that would pass an ISO 9001 inspection with the paperwork twice signed and neatly clipped in a folder.
I wonder if this is why I prefer vegetable plants to pretty flowers? They lend themselves so much more naturally to lines.
(I'm the kind of person who irons socks so they look more neat in the drawer).
I agree with aspects of what you say Clari - when I plan borders, beds, fences etc they have to relate to each other proportionately and with similar angles, curves etc. My art school training means that using the Golden Section is automatic.
However, my planting spills out over it all like a Dutch still life cornucopia