Gardening

A horticultural brush with the fashion police

There’s something that’s been irking me for several weeks. A magazine headline. An innocuous, mildly informative phrase that originally made me smile:

“Purple–this year’s hottest hue for flowers!”

It made me smile because my garden’s overall colour scheme is built on purples and yellows. Maybe I would actually be ‘with it’ this year! Was it possible?

I moved on with my everlasting quack grass attack, but the headline kept popping back into my head, not with a feeling of smug satisfaction at being so very vogue, but with a rankling sense of wrongness. What was it that did not sit right with me about this simple report?

It’s taken me a while to process my thoughts, but I think I am at a place now where I can articulate my gut reaction:

I resent having a decade’s worth of dreaming, planning, and hard work reduced to a fashion trend.

My garden–and many others’, I know– is a life’s work, one that arises from a desire to create, a need to improve, a dedication to self-sufficiency, a reverence for tradition, or perhaps all of these together. It is an ongoing, process driven experience, measured in seasons, yes, but also timeless in its perpetual cycle. A garden evolves over years, and to slap a up-to-the-minute forecast on how things should look feels like a betrayal to me.

Maybe it’s because I don’t tend to plant many annuals, so a ‘colour of the year’ just doesn’t make sense in my mind. Maybe there’s some sour (purple) grapes that I don’t have the means to overhaul my curb appeal with the style setters. Or maybe I’m just a snob in my own special way.

For now, I’ll enjoy being at the front of the fashion wave. By next spring, my purple perennials may be passé. Who cares? Chances are, the trend tide will turn within a few years, and I’ll be ahead of the game again, just by staying where I am.

Some lovely thyme in bloom next to my front door. Planted four years ago, it's really coming into its own this year, creeping satisfyingly between the stepping stones.

Some lovely thyme in purply bloom next to my front door. Planted four years ago, it’s really coming into its own this year, creeping satisfyingly between the stepping stones.

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