An Eclectic Gardner

Eclectic.….is selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles…… composed of elements drawn from various sources….including things taken from many different sources

I define myself as an “Eclectic” thinker,” therefore, I am defining myself as an “Eclectic Gardener” and I do not see myself as a “purist” of any single approach. To me, my urban oasis/potager/ Modern Day Kitchen Garden is a reflection of my journey here on earth and what at the moment catches my eye…I respect others and their choices and love to learn from those that do not always think the same way as I do but have the fundamental core values to leave the earth in a better way….

Many moons ago I was dancing with 2 women in a company that we started after we all graduated college back in the early 80’s. We found ourselves teaching at local colleges and had somehow found time to create together. We were asked to participate in a unique exchange program with the Iowa Arts Council; its sister city in Japan. We went to Des Moines to meet with many artists in the early 80’s that were in this exchange art program. We were all young and fresh just like my plants in the garden that start out each season new and unweathered…

While we were visiting with some Jazz musicians, a dancer in our group shared with the musicians,” I LOVE  jazz it is my favorite music.”  After her statement, one of the musicians turned to me and asked, ” what is your favorite music,” and I thought for a moment and said, Well, I really don’t have a favorite music style, I LOVE all music. The musician said, ” Good, that is the way to be.”. I was thinking about this tendency for me to be “eclectic” in my tastes and it seems to define who I have become over the years.

Well, those experiences in the arts were beautiful, and it seems to have been something I have carried with me over the years. When I  changed directions from the arts to education while starting my family, I developed an eclectic educational approach, too! I never was defined by one educational philosophy. I drew from them all to achieve what I wanted to when working with kids.

The other night I was reading about “Native Gardner’s” vs. “Permaculture Gardner’s” and how the permaculture philosophy was introducing too many “invasive” plants…yadda yadda…and some of the people, on both sides, were being rather nasty! As I read the arguments from both sides on this blog, It made me think of my “past” creative endeavors in my life, and I thought, why do people have to get so angry at one another. Yes, we need to care about the environment, but do we have to believe our way is the only way to create a garden! It is important we listen and try to understand one another. It seems by working together we can share some of our approaches and maybe over time we can learn from each other.  And the statement” We can agree to disagree” seems to be a better way to coexist with each other.

To me, our outdoor spaces are “personal” and really a creative expression of an individual gardener. It is what they like, and we should not try to push our “likes” on to others. If we agree that chemicals are not suitable for our environment maybe we should agree to disagree on our plant choices or how we create our spaces…

I am exploring some new approaches to our Urban Oasis this next summer. I am trying some new companion plants in our Urban Potager and will be documenting the diversity In the process. I hope it makes others think about what they are doing, and sometimes I feel it does, for example, I have noticed fewer trucks spraying lawns and more people getting outside as I am out often. I share plants with neighbors while we have carefree discussions and I do mention I grow organically. I don’t preach or shame them into feeling they have to change, or I won’t talk to them. Over the years,  I have seen them change. Not because I preached or shamed them, but because they wanted to change.

May 17th butterfly monarch old and new 031

A few springs ago, I caught these two souls traveling through my yard….it struck me as a juxtaposition of how our journey should be in life….the transfer of wisdom……..

We all need to become a bit more accepting in our lives
….maybe it comes with wisdom we attain with age that we finally realize being hateful + adamant does not create the needed change to leave a better world for those that come after us…..

Stand up Eclectic Gardner’s and Reach over the Fence today!


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