Thursday, May 27, 2010

they call it Urban Terraforming

Don’t Call it Gardening, The Wired Guide to Domestic Terraforming is the title of a fun article by Dominique Browning with illustrations by Oksana Badrak in the June issue of Wired. Yeah, I know that Wired is the slightly irreverent voice of the hip geek crowd. Alright, I also never thought that irreverent, geek and hip would ever be used in the same sentence, but I just did it. You may ask what they are doing talking about gardening? Shouldn’t they be writing about computers or something? In case no one told you, gardening is made for geeks. I never thought of myself as a geek. I am not a digital native. I do have a couple of slide rules floating around and there is a book of random numbers next to a book of sines, cosines and tangents from a distant past on a bookshelf, but I don’t have tape on my glasses. Then again, the Hanson brothers have tape on their glasses and no one would ever accuse them of being geeks. I do however fit the definition posited by Wired. Heck, we all do.

Gardening requires all who partake to learn another language. I hesitate to say new because Latin is hardly new. Without gardeners, Latin may have been destined to obscure legal works and religious writings. As much as I hate to admit it, common names are not exact and can be confusing. Gardeners can take great pride in keeping the language of the Caesars alive. That doesn’t include myself yet because I still can’t pronounce the name of my blog correctly. The world of gardening also requires a genteel mode of behavior. A certain politeness is derigueur in all communications. All who followed Jean's discussion at Jeans Garden on the whos and whys of blogging witnessed an animated discussion on the matter.

The article waits till the end to talk about digging in the “soil.” I always thought the word was dirt, but the article corrects my misunderstanding. I feel better already. There are also some cool diagrams about laying out different size gardens. Boy, where were these aids when I was descending into gardening chaos by just planting and letting the “force” guide me?

Here are some pics of our latest terra forming effort. Pat and I created planting areas in the pachysandra to add some height and diffuse the monoculture of the plant. Pachysandra is a wonderful ground cover for shaded areas. It is slow growing and needs no tending. It is, however, persistent. It overwhelms everything in its path. I never thought anything could choke out hosta, but pachysandra can. Our side yard planting areas did not get the care they needed last year. We needed to push the pach back. It may look like we have a bazillion pachysandra plants in the yard, but we don’t. I think it is just one large plant. The rhizomes are 2, 3, 4, 5 feet long and I think they reach down to the center of the earth. And to think that garden centers sell pachysandra right next to that other spawn of the devil, ivy. I’ll give both away to anyone who wants them, or to unsuspecting new gardeners. Oh, that was me a couple years ago.
Before terraforming

After Terraforming

The hose is from one of our rain barrels, so I guess we can add enviromentally friendly to geeky.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a fun post. I love your rich dark earth that your gardens are growing in. Everything looks really lush.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.


Kyna said...

Haha, I can't say the name of your blog correctly either. Bit it's eye-catching! I just think of it as 'Jim's Hosta Blog' :D

We're all geeks in one way or another, you're right about that. I think just having a passion about any subject can be synonymous with 'geek'.

Is the Wiz said...

Gardeners, terraformers or horticulturists (my boss's favourite), I like the term for the legendary Chinese masters, geomancers. And dirt or soil, both have unpleasant connotations here, we call it earth. Btw, my old tutor used to say, pronounce Latin however you like, no-one's alive who can contradict you!

Kathryn said...

I just read that article last night in Wired and thought of you when I did.

your garden looks great!

JCharlier said...

I read that article this past week too. It was well-written and illustrated. I studied the diagrams to see if there's more I can do in my garden to push production. I've held onto the magazine so i can refer back to it.

Anonymous said...

Terra forming is an interesting concept. I can never figure out whether I'm forming the terra or it's forming me! (Probably both) -Jean

Floridagirl said...

LOL! Don't want to beat the proverbial dead horse here, but I call your blog "Jim Groble"; it's just easier that way. Sounds like you are indeed a geek with such books lying around. I'm embarrassed to admit my glasses were taped for several weeks a few years ago until I found time to get a new pair. Anyway, your terraforming project has gone well. Not familiar with pachysandra, but it sounds like a nightmare. Don't let it eat those precious hosta!

debsgarden said...

I love all the shades of green of your hostas! Your terraforming efforts have paid off; it all looks lovely! By the way, tis nothing wrong with geeks - Members of my family qualify under any definition. I long ago told my son not to worry, geeks make the world go round, as well as other gadgets.

Laura Bloomsbury said...

a gardener with a wry sense of humour - very refreshing to read and to view your lush and lovely shades of green