I am the conflicted gardener

Just a picture of a wooded garden scene
I am the conflicted gardener.

On the one hand, I feel as though I should be buying plants for my garden that will reduce the amount of time, effort, and strength needed to maintain it.

To that end, I ordered two pawpaw trees to plant  where the big viburnums grew until two weeks ago when I had a crew cut them out.

The pawpaw tree is a native tree for me, and once established, it should give me years of enjoyment without too much care. Plus. if I'm lucky, I'll get some pawpaws to eat in early fall. The pawpaw trees will be like sentries on two corners of the vegetable garden and add to the other edible fruits - apples, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, honeyberries, grapes, and strawberries - I've already planted.

On the other hand, I feel as though there are some plants I still want to try to grow, even if they need a bit of extra attention, knowing that even if I give them that extra attention and we have a particularly cold winter, they could up and die on me anyway.

To that end,  I just ordered three cold hardy camellias, the hardiest I could find.  I will plant them this spring, baby them through the summer and fall and hope they survive the winter and give me a few blooms next spring.  They will anchor my Garden of Southern Follies and Delights and add to the crepe myrtle I planted last fall.

Two ends of the gardening spectrum.  Easy care to molly-coddling care. It's a conflict within me. Which should I choose?

When we encounter conflict, I think our natural tendency is to try to resolve the conflict quickly so we can live in peace once again.  Either do that, or retreat away from the conflict.  Me? I think I'll keep this conflict in my garden going for awhile.  After all,  if I stay somewhere in the middle, I'm sure to save some time in some areas of the garden and therefore have some time to spend on some interesting plants for other areas.

With that, I think I've resolved my conflict.  Or have I just reached a nice compromise?


  1. Are all gardeners conflicted? I vacillate between using local plants only to desiring a more formal look.....you know what they say about child rearing.....be consistent...it must apply to gardening as well! I think I'm creating a monster!!

  2. Pawpaw is very laxative !, I went from not knowing to eating some (made pawpaw bread) and knowing exstreamly Well, lol.

  3. I think you have hit the nail on the head. We don't have to resolve the conflict. Really you are just setting priorities, deciding how you want to spend your time.

  4. Oh Honey, I so get what you're saying. I am always conflicted too.~~Dee

  5. Ah, a true gardener is a scientist and loves to experiment with plants. You learn something from everything you plant and remember the failures much more clearly than the successes.

  6. Your selections sound heavenly! I wish I could grow pawpaws and berries. (It gets too hot here). Nothing wrong with diversity and compromise =)

  7. I think it's probably better to have conflict in the garden than in any other aspect of your life. Welcome it and have fun!

  8. Since I'm now retired and live on pensions, the conflict about the zone denial plants has ceased, I'm not willing to spend my money on a hardiness gamble anymore, especially since finding that the weather can find ways to kill even hardy plants, like the year the first frost was Dec. 20 and in two days went to 6ºF, killing a large Eucalyptus tree supposedly hardy to 0ºF. But the Paw Paws are great trees, the seed-grown ones have done well but the expensive grafted tree is still 3' tall 5 years later.

  9. Dear, I am also conflicted by gardening. But we can make great experiences being in conflict because this often starts up creative processes which can lead us to wonderful results.
    My personal biggest conflict is always to find a good balance and to be in harmony between working 7/24 in the garden and the big illusion of relaxing, lying in the grass, reading good books in the shadow of my trees...
    Doesn't work, never!

  10. Dear Carol,
    I think everybody who wants to accomplish something is conflicted once in a while. That keeps the progress going!
    I love your blog, it's very optimistic, praising the nature and that's so important!
    I will show this to my mum, she is so enthusiastic about growing almost anything :-) she has a big yard and I live in the apartment so coming to her place is a great relax.
    I'm even thinking about having some kind of a vertical garden because we all need plants around. It's very challenging to have it in a flat, though, but I'll try to do my best :-)
    Good luck with your garden!


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