Wednesday, June 19, 2019

One Is Not Enough

One Is Not Enough

      Agreeing with the title, you would include peanuts, chocolate and sex in your list of items that bear repetition. All with that ineffable “Wow!” factor. Others could be mentioned, but I'm typing pretty fast and don't have the time to go back, as I'm late for dessert.
      'Plants in a garden' also fits the title. Most plants need to be among friends to have an impact. A single azalea doesn't have the power of a cluster of them: I have a line of 3 'Daysprings' by the driveway, 2 'B.G. Reds' in front of the porch, 2 'Renee Michelles' around a large oak, etc. One 'Mildred Mae', by that same oak, is old but, has layered so many times that she covers a lot of ground, and is like the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

April 25, 2019 in the essayists garden

      A variety dominating an area gets the “Wow!” factor.
      I remember wandering in my garden, then turning around and coming face-to-face with an explosion of bright purple 'Amoenum'. The tallest plants were head-height and others surrounded it chest high. The whole mass was an overwhelming statement!
      Moving away from flowers, large clumps of a single variety of hosta can draw your attention as a focal point.
      Several modest Japanese Maples in full fall color demand you bow to them. A single one, larger than any one of the grouping by itself, can't match that power. The mass of reds and oranges will have you taking pictures from close up, far away, horizontal, vertical, brighter, dimmer and polarized. Results will be put into a folder titled “Wow!”
      The opposite of the above is dropping single plants into a bed because space is available, or plants all from the same hybridizer but looking individually different, or plants all grouped because they carry the names of movie stars, or [insert silly reason here: ...]. They don't mass and just seem random until you are informed of their common links. That requires a slight grin and chuckle: “How droll.” But, you don't say “Wow!”
      The opinion above doesn't apply in cramped surroundings, where variety is a better goal than swarms. Small decks, apartment patios, or townhouse backyards are candidates for interesting varieties, where two of a kind would require the exclusion of something else that screams “Hey. Over here. Look at me!”
      However, in a normal suburban backyard, after reducing the grassy area by 80%, replacing it with something less horticulturally mindless, trashing the hardscape design with a sledge hammer, and tearing out the English Ivy, there will be space. Space to stretch out and settle in.
Feel free to exclaim it again; even backwards!


  1. I want to fight with this concept, even though I think you're right. I think "WoW" is overrated. I like to discover subtlety; in that case I need a "wow" (without capital letters) to draw initial attention, and not hold it too tightly. I need attention to begin wandering, and then find the "Oh...wait..." which is my ultimate gift.

    1. Too subtle. I want garish, brash and "in your face"! THAT'S memorable.