Friday, June 3, 2011


"Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance."
 - Epicurus

Echinacea, Europeana rose, pink"rock rose", canna

Often I think of how wonderful it is to be living here, now.  We have such abundance of things.  Things a king from long ago would not have.  Things a Roman emperor would envy.  Clean running water.  A shelter that can be heated and cooled, a soft bed, warm blankets, food from all parts of the world.  A refrigerator.  Ice cubes!  Transportation (and not from a horse).  The internet.  And a private garden.

Cannas, Home Run rose, Fragrant Angel echinacea

My garden boasts a variety of plants unknown to emperors of old, and more varieties of roses than most gardens had in centuries past.  Those kings of long-ago would be amazed and jealous that I could keep these plants alive by water that flowed through a hose.

Coreopsis, blanket flower, with iris, salvias, and roses


Euphorbia, golden barberry, and roses

Abundance is something I want for my garden.  Some gardeners may think abundance means more of the plant they collect.  More room to expand.  Or more blooms in a given year.  For me, abundance is a the exuberant look of plants overflowing their allotted space.

"Rock rose", lambs ear, canna, Knock Out roses

I love that look.  I want my plants to intermingle.  For their blooms to be intertwined.  I love the look of different plants, different foliage, and different shades all merged together.

Dusty miller, hosta, hydrangea, ferns, alliums, and lily

It looks like you can just allow the plants to run amuck, but in reality it has not been an easy look for me to achieve.  It takes time for the garden plants to fill out their space.  Some area of my garden are still a few years from being filled out.  But there are a few places that have the look I love.

Europeana rose, "rock rose", echinacea

Some plants have to be reined in a bit, so that others won't get overrun.  It's a delicate balance between ampleness and aggressiveness.  

Home Run rose, euphorbia, golden barberry

The look of plants neatly separated in a bed of mulch is a look of order and tidiness, and is a look many gardeners covet.  When placed too close together, the more aggressive plants will crowd out the more behaved varieties.  And for that reason, some gardeners want a little bit of space between their plants.  Space is also good to keep funguses and bugs from affecting and infecting the entire garden.

Alliums, dusty miller, hydrangea

Some gardeners would never want a disorderly look in their gardens.  But I do.

Coreopsis, artemisia, salvia

I don't want more of any one plant.  I don't want more room to garden.  I don't want the biggest, the best, or the most blooms.  I want the look of chaotic abundance.

Lambs ear, canna, sedum, euphorbia, and Knock Out rose

Abundance.  What does it mean in your garden?


  1. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    My garden has an out of control look to it. Abundance- I have it in spades. Sometimes I delude myself into imagining I am the master of the chaos, but mother nature sends me regular and humbling messages to the contrary. Enjoy your weekend!

  2. I love makes me think and what a great question....Abundance of actual flowers not weeds...right now I have an abundance of weeds...I love the chaotic look as well...I break so many rules...I even interplant my veggies with flowers...I just can't stay in the seems your flowers are making that abundant look to me....sorry I have been absent from reading blogs for a while...I have had a hectic life recently and am trying to catch up and stay up with blogs I love...

  3. Too often we think of what we don't have instead of what we already have. I also like full and crowded gardens with the play on textures and colors....much like it would be without my intervention. Your combinations are so beautiful and so perfect. Have a good weekend!

  4. Looks like abundance is paying off in good looks. I too think about how fortunate we are and always think how can it possibly be better, but as time goes on, better it gets. Gardening is kinda like that. Time makes it better.

  5. You are right, we do have a lot to be grateful for. I love reading your posts, you always come up with such unusual things to write about. I am glad you started a blog.

  6. Your opening quote is absolutely wonderful, and I totally agree--abundance is more about knowing how to enjoy things fully than it is about having lots of "stuff." I love your description of the exuberant garden and your photos, especially of all those lovely leaves intermingling!

  7. I enjoy my abundance of bugs. LOL! I know some people think I am nuts and still waiting for me to squash them up.

    Love your quote and photos.

  8. A wonderful post and if the sun wasn't just newly shining on my keyboard, beckoning me to the garden, I would linger in the lushness! Because that is what I enjoy in June, the lushness of the new growth. Not enough time yet for the critters and insects to have their way, and all new and promising!

  9. Well problems with blogger. Lost my comment I think, but I will say again that I think your gardens look beautiful. Love the full look.

  10. Jennifer - Chaos is another name for it. Abundance just sounds better!

    Donna - An abundance of weeds! Yes, I have that, too. :( I think the chaos makes you slow down and really look - it can be so very interesting. Glad you got time to stop by. Hope all is well there.

    Sage Butterfly - Mother Nature is the original abundance/chaotic planter, isn't she? I'm impatiently waiting for other parts of the garden to grow into the chaotic mess I love.

    GWGT - That's one thing about a garden. It's never static. I love seeing the plants grow, and try to take over!

    Masha - Thank you! I had thought about it for over a year, but you, Sherry, and Christina gave me the courage to give it a go.

    Stacy - I do think that's part of the secret to happiness. I've always appreciated the things I've had, and not worried about what I didn't.

    One - You do seem to have an abundance of bugs! lol That in itself shows what a bountiful garden you have.

    Jayne - Yes, this time of year is the time of abundance. I think everything I have planted is blooming!

    Cher - Sorry you're having Blogger probs. I love taking pictures of the garden. It makes you realize what you appreciate in the garden, and what needs to be changed.

  11. What a lovely mix of textures, shapes, and colors! I think you are achieving with your garden the very thing that most of us want--a garden that looks effortless and as if it has always been there, as if it were always meant to be. Perfection.

  12. A garden that is too much in control has a gardener thet is too much in control...great wisdom in this post...

  13. You've achieved a lush look. My mother would have likened it to filling out government forms: something in every space.

    For me, abundance in the garden is growing more of what thrives. That means I have great wads of Black eyed Susans and not much of those things that require pampering. Abundance here means lots of seeds to scatter for the next year.

  14. Here, here! I love the overstuffed garden look, too. For me, that means I particularly love plants that self seed and reappear where I least expect them. I figure, it's easier (not to mention cheaper) to be ripping plants out than to be buying more!

  15. StoBlogger - I am still working on a lot of areas in my garden still. But each year I make note of what needs 'more' and am continually tweaking. Thanks for your sweet comments.

    Jim - I am definitely not in control, although I try to pretend I am at times!

    Seedscatterer - Government forms! lol Growing what thrives is smart - and makes for less headaches, and heartaches! I like your definition of abundance for your garden.

    Hanni - And what a fun surprise to see what ends up where! I love plants that fill out and spread, too.

  16. I love Europeana, such a beautiful rose.

  17. Great Question and I love the carefully cultivated intertwining look you have, it is something I am striving for. So Abundance to me is a garden that provides an abundance of pleasure. Pleasure for me is, escape. A chance to be in the dirt, not thinking about the stacks of work on my desk that Monday inevitably holds. Cheers~

  18. I love your idea of abundance. Abundance to me is all kinds of bright flowers, vibrant green foliage and happy wildlife.

  19. Holley, your "look of chaotic abundance" is what I am hoping to create in my garden. Yours looks so effortless - but I know it takes careful planning. I'm learning ... and its slowly, slowly getting there.

  20. Redneck Rosarian - This is my first spring with Europeana, and I am impressed with how pretty it is.

    Jenni - What a great way to escape your work day. It's wonderful to have a garden to give us such an amount of pleasure.

    Autumn Belle - Ah, yes, happy wildlife. I'm not so happy with the deer that are eating our garden, but I'm loving all the butterflies!

    GardeningBlog - It does take time, and I am impatient. My walking garden is at that point where it has matured enough to have that look. I'm anxiously awaiting the year when my main rose garden will - I'm hoping (with fingers crossed) next year.


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