Horticulture: the art and science of growing plants.
Riot: noun; 1, a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd. “riots broke out in the capital”
2, an impressively large or varied display of something. “the garden was a riot of color”
verb; take part in a violent public disturbance. “students rioted in Paris
To pursue the practice of good horticulture today in the public landscape is a political act. It is an act of defiance. It tells people that horticulture and the landscapes we live in matter. Landscapes are not simply backdrops to human activities. Landscapes are a wedding of life to place. They reflect society’s relationship with the green world. Ours today demonstrate our lack of connection, as a people, to the landscape around us. My purpose with this blog is to advocate for good horticultural practice and I intend to do that with both good and bad examples, primarily in the ‘green’ city in which I live, Portland, OR.
I also intend to use this site to discuss just what is good horticultural practice from the importance of knowing your site and the requirements of what you chose to grow on it to good pruning practice and the tools that we use to do the work. There are no ‘green thumbs’ only people who care enough to pay attention.
There will also be the occasional article discussing plants I have grown well and those I’ve been less successful with. The plant combo shown in my header, Iris x pacifica ‘ Simply Wild’ and Fabiana imbricata is indicative of the scope of plants I choose to grow myself. The Iris is a hybrid of several of the native species found only on the west coast of North America, grown and selected from the garden, supremely well adapted to our region, but nowhere else in North America. The Fabiana comes from the dry uplands of Chile and Argentina, an area that shares a climate very similar to our own here. I love the textural contrast of the two and as a member of the Tomato family or Solanaceae this speaks to my interest in the exotic…familiar and different. As we begin to confront the issues of sustainable landscapes and climate change, we need to be looking to such mediterranean regions like these. Gardeners and horticulturists in other parts of the country will have to evaluate there home regions and how their climate is shifting to know which climatic regions of the world they can look to to find candidates to fill the gaps in their own broken landscapes.
That, is something we all share today, the fact that our landscapes are broken and that we are continuing to push them out of balance as we build and attempt to maintain our modern and destabilized world. It is my intention to refocus the discussion and provide you with some needed support because most of our institutions and practices are still moving us in the wrong direction. Green-washing, can never work. Conflicting priorities and a consistent under valuing of our landscapes lead to too small budgets and understaffing. Politics often get in the way. Good horticultural practice can move us in the right direction, because it is firmly grounded in place and health. It can serve to illuminate the discrepancy between words and deeds. It is a firm personal belief of mine that everything we choose to either do or not do is a political decision. Horticulture matters. Consider this a call to action. Be bold. Never doubt the transformative power of gardening.