Monkey See, Monkey Do

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Sjoerd, May 21, 2010.

  1. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Many years ago, in the northern part of the Low Countries there was a Gardening Complex established with the blessing of the Queen and gardened by members of a like mind. They all had their own way of doing things, but the results were always the same: straight rows in rectangular beds. Very respectable.
    The harvests were fulfilling and lovely to see, piled up in baskets and crates...ready to be taken to their respective dwellings, where they would be eaten fresh or stored for the winter.

    All went well, like a fairy tale where the peasants toiled-away to grow food to feed themselves and their families. Very utilitarian.
    Until one day, someone had a divergent...almost crazy idea to plant a few flowers in a small section that wasn't used for anything in particular. The members were surprised to see this because the volkstuin was a place where vegetables and fruit were grown exclusively. That was the tradition, and flowers were a luxury that couldn't be afforded. One must eat, and pretty flowers couldn't be eaten....or was that true?

    Some of the wise men and women pointed out that there were indeed some flowers that could be eaten. Not only were there no ill effects, but they tasted good and were healthy to boot! Ok then, one could grow and eat flowers. The older ones accepted this sporting unbelieveing smiles, like a farmer with a toothache.

    As time went by slowly but surely the people began to plant more and more flowers and even some trees and bushes that were not fruit-bearing. "Things have gotten out of hand", the old folk said...but the clock was not to be turned back. Many gardens set aside a small section devoted to flowering bushes and plants--it was food too; food for the soul, for as life became less simple and more stressful with work and such--the flowers added to the serenity of just being in the garden to calm the fevered brow of the working, part-time gardner.

    One day Loes, a pioneer lady decided that gardening for food, flowers was alright and a good thing, but aesthetically something more was needed--design. Simple rows running north-south or east-west were fine for some...but who says that a garden cannot have a shape ...a direction...a meaning.
    This lady put her mind to work and her spade to soil...and the ethereal garden was born.
    [​IMG]

    There were various geometrical shapes, paths lined with lengths of birch outlining the plots and sub-plots. Wood chip paths were there to navigate one through the intricate ploys of veg and flowering plants.
    She also used dwarf buxus to line some plots. The geometrically-formed plots with straight rows of veg were a contrast that was so pleasant to the eye. She won first prize two times, and garden design was "in".

    This revolutionary idea proved too much for some and they fell under its spell, like one monkey watching another pull ants out of a hole with a straw.
    More of the members of this community began thinking that they could also find it in themselves to be a little more cavalier...fancier.

    One by one, this pattern began to appear in other gardens across the complex.
    This doesn't show it too well, because I could not get the good angle, as the lady was not present and therefore I could not enter her terrain...but you can see the general elements of the design.
    [​IMG]

    Further to the east is another more rudimentary example, but none-the-less the shape is unmistakable if you put on your reading glasses and look carefully.
    [​IMG]

    This fine example was laid-out last year. It is near the front gate and will make a nice impression when visitors come by to have a look at our complex. It just needs some plants, but I assume that they will be forthcoming.
    [​IMG]

    The most recent garden of this type was laid-out by the newest gardner to join the club. Their place is just up from mine, so I can go and observe the progress.
    [​IMG]

    It was amazing how this idea began to spread...it is almost un-noticeable. One would have have a walk-about to see them. Even then it might not register, as they are spread out a bit and there are more thatn 200 plots.

    Other than the first two, it remains to be seen what sort of things will pop-up around and in the various sections that this design form creates. I see potential here.
    It sort of looks like a design that someone would make for their back yard at home...perhaps that's why it looks a little odd on the complex grounds. Odd it may be, but I am hoping that these will become rich with delicious veg and gorgeous flowers. We shall see as the summer rolls on.
     
  2. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I'm soooo glad that "someone had a divergent...almost crazy idea to plant a few flowers in a small section that wasn't used for anything in particular." If they'd stuck to just veggies we'd never be able to enjoy the beautiful gardens we all see today. I wonder if they lived long enough to see what they had started come to fruition? I do hope so.

    I've seen some gardens and allotments over here that grow nothing but fruit and veggies but they are still beautiful. Curved beds, winding paths, planting that is so well thought out that you'd believe you were looking at a flower garden. Long may it continue. :D
     
  3. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    Sojerd, they are really beautifully and I can see that they are done with pride and commitment. :)
     
  4. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    EILEEN--I'm glad that whomever was the first did take that first step. If they hadn't...then I most certainaly would have. hahaha. I like purely veg gardens just fine, but I like flowers waaay more. I sort of feel like I MUST have flowers, and it works out well to have both on the lottie.
    I'm with you--"Long may it continue".

    KK--I'm glad that ypou liked the posting this time. I can also see al;ot of planning that went into these.
     



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  5. bsewnsew

    bsewnsew Hardy Maple

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    planing n money too.

    Very cool for us addictions.

    b
     
  6. Netty

    Netty Chaotic Gardener Plants Contributor

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    How wonderful! I always make a point of adding some flowers to my veggie plot...it helps attract the bee's for pollination. I'm not nearly as fancy as the folks you've shown Sjoerd!
     
  7. bsewnsew

    bsewnsew Hardy Maple

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    Lots of folks add marigolds here for that reason.

    Hope you have a bumper crop this time. My silly onions are standing still like sticks. i purchased some they are no better.

    b
     
  8. bunkie

    bunkie Young Pine

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    great pics and story sjoerd! when i started reading it and the part about only veggies, no flowers, i started yelling...in my head...'many flowers are edible!!!'...then i read the rest of your post and see they found that out! :D

    i have always had a few flowers in the garden, as others have said mainly for insects, but the last two years i've really gotten into flowers. especially the perennial ones.

    can't wait to see your pics of these places in a few weeks!
     
  9. tonya

    tonya New Seed

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    BEAUTIFUL!!!i too believe flowers feed the soul whereas veggies feed the body, we always include some kind of flowers be they marigolds or even zinnias to attract the bees which help pollinate the veggies. i hope you will post more pix as the season progresses, i could never tire of viewing your gardens :)
     
  10. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Glad you liked the posting, NETTY-- Mine isn't either. :)

    BALI--I use marigolds too. I honestly believe that they help keep the aphids off my plants.
    Thanks for wishing me luck with my harvest this year. My onions are also doing weird. They all have yellowing leaves. I'm convinced that they are too dry.

    Thanks BUNKIE-- I chuckles when you told about your first reaction.
    I am glad to hear that you are developing more interest in flowering plants. They are a good addition to any garden, I believe.

    TONYA--I am glad that you enjoyed those fotos of the gardens.
    I do plan on posting more pics as things develop. It has been a strange spring here and we are about three weeks late this year with things. I am curious to see how it all pans out.
     
  11. bsewnsew

    bsewnsew Hardy Maple

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    Sjoerd

    spring is nutty here also.
    Onions wont budge.
     
  12. gfreiherr

    gfreiherr Young Pine

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    Thanks for sharing the photos and narrative on the different gardens. I enjoyed seeing each gardener's creativity, and if you haven't guessed by now...I love flowers. :D I prefer to have a few vegetables in my flower garden. ;) "Variety is the soul of pleasure".
     
  13. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hello Gail, I am glad that you liked the posting. Yes, I know that you like flowers too.
    When you said that "variety is the soul of pleasure", you were really waxing philosophical, weren't you. chuckle.
    That is an interesting premise.
    I know that I like and actually need variety in my life. I had never considered that it was the basis of the pleasure that I generally experience. Hmmmm. I shall contemplate this again later.
     

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