The temporal nature of things
Editor's Note: Linda Plato, our regular garden columnist, has decided to end her services with us and this is to be her last column. The Ballard News Tribune is seeking a new Garden Columnist to provide weekly columns. It is preferred that the prospective columnist has an extensive knowledge base of gardening, whether it is professional or personal. Please call 783-1244, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a writing sample and for more information.
The temporal nature of things
By Linda Plato
Growing up in an incredibly isolated, rural area of northeastern California, I witnessed firsthand the incredible power of Mother Nature. If Hurricane Katrina has taught us anything-and let's hope we learned a lot from this epic disaster-it's that nature is in charge at all times. Even organic gardening puts us at odds with nature, be it the weather, pests or disease. The only difference is that we're putting up a gentler, kinder struggle with no long-lasting repercussions on the earth.
Naturalistic gardeners like to believe that their gardens are somehow superior because they are, well, 'natural.' I will say it loud and proud: That's hooey. Planting native plants in a supposedly natural way is as forced as formal bedding out surrounded by a clipped boxwood hedge. A truly natural garden is going to look pretty darn weedy. Just because a garden looks natural doesn't mean it's morally superior. Those of you who like structure and straight lines in your gardens should go ahead and celebrate your love of all things symmetrical. I know I do in my garden. That doesn't mean I don't have a fern or two floating around here and there (After all, they do grow in shade).
And so, Ballard gardeners, it is with a deep respect for nature, and a recognition that I come from one heck of a bad gene pool, that I reluctantly recognize the seemingly temporal nature of my own 37-year-old body. Last year, during a bout with breast cancer, I was able to keep up with my weekly garden column as well as my landscape design business.
Upon returning from a garden tour in France in August, I learned that my cancer was back with a vengeance, showing up in both my brain and my lungs. Now as it turns out, brain surgery wasn't nearly as bad as I'd suspected, and my chemotherapy treatment for the lung tumors is going swimmingly. That said, I've decided to focus all of my efforts on wellness, healing, and my own garden, which could desperately use some attention.
I thank you for your wonderful questions, your well-written press releases and gardening events, and all of your support when I took over this column from the venerable Marianne Binetti, one of the greatest garden writers in the Pacific Northwest. I know it was a big leap for many of you, and I appreciate your sticking with me and the newspaper while we figured out the tone and style that worked best for all of us. I encourage you to do the same for the next garden writer! Change is good.
My very best wishes to you and your gardens,