Monday, November 22, 2010
If I ever had the opportunity to own a garden center, I think I’d name it “Gardenalgia”. I'd sell products and plants that promoted the old ways of gardening, the good old ways of gardening that is. Not the DDT ways, the double-digging ways, the paint-the-tree-trunks-white ways.
I'd carry heirloom seeds, well-made tools, native plants, time-tested varieties. Down the aisles, you’d find wide-brimmed straw hats, classically shaped garden urns and planters and the classics of gardening books.
There would be room for new stuff, too, but only if it supported and promoted gardenalgia, and helped gardeners find those wonderful gardens of the past in their own gardens.
I suppose “Gardenalgia” wouldn't need to be an actual garden center. It could be a brand and that brand could only be put on something that had stood the test of time in the gardens of old.
But even if it isn’t a garden center or a brand, I like “gardenalgia” to describe that yearning we have to recreate the gardens of our past, to honor those who gardened before us by planting those plants we know they loved and caring for our gardens the way they cared for theirs.
See also Hortalgia, n. 1. a hankering for a specific plant from our past, also called plantalgia.
(Peonies above are from my Dad's garden and date back to 1960, making them at least a fifty year old variety, the kind of plant you'd find in a garden promoting gardenalgia.)