Not for me are those minimalist gardens, with hardscapes occasionally punctuated with a plant or two. I want my gardens to be full of plants.
I want to be able to walk amongst the flowers in my garden and find bouquets of blooms ready to be cut.
I want to go out to the vegetable garden and find enough fresh produce to make a summer evening’s supper.
I want to walk down the path and be able to reach out and touch the plants as I walk along.
I want to smell the sweet scent of ripening grapes and pick apples that are as crisp as an autumn morning.
If I have all this, I have the fifth garden design element in my garden, summed up in one word – hortiful.
(Yes, I did. I came up with another word not in the dictionary. After coming up with the other four non-dictionary words to describe the other garden design elements, I felt the pressure to do it. Fortunately, “hortiful” came to me when I was thinking of something totally unrelated to gardening. And yes, I do understand that regular readers are pausing right now at the very idea that I had a thought not related to gardening. Or did I? Because I did happen to think of the word “hortiful” when I wasn’t consciously thinking of gardening. But I digress…)
When I tell someone I’m looking for a hortiful garden, I should clarify that I’m not really looking for a jungle with tangles of branches and an understory that requires you to hack it all back with a machete just to get through it.
I’m simply looking for an abundance of plants, well-placed, that I can know and love.
I want to know each plant in my garden and I’m not afraid to have a large variety of plants. In fact I would prefer that! I want to be able to experiment a bit, to feel free to buy a new plant or two or three and have a place for it in the garden.
I don’t want to worry about seedlings that show up or if a plant or two disappears on me, as they are sometimes prone to do. I understand that a garden is always changing, that it is a living entity. It won’t be the same year to year, seasons to season, day to day, or even hour to hour. It will never be finished, at least for me. I’m a gardener. I know I’ll always be planting, pruning, digging, and replacing plants, within the framework of the garden design. I’m fine with all of that, because that’s part of having a garden full of plants, a garden that is hortiful.
That’s what the garden design element “hortiful” means to me.