Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dated Gardens

Do garden styles come in and out of fashion? Are there plants that are so “yesterday” no self-respecting gardener would use them in her/his garden? If so, what are they?! (Say it ain't so, Stella.) These are the questions that have been plaguing me since I had a conversation with a guide at one of the State Fair gardens. He told me one of the gardens would be overhauled during the off-season because it was “dated.”

I’ve been really intrigued by his comment because I can spot a dated kitchen a mile away. (Harvest Gold, anyone?!) And, even I, not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, wouldn’t be caught dead in a polyester dress shirt anymore. But, I can’t for the life of me figure out what makes a garden “dated.”

I have noticed that gardens/plantings at businesses at industrial settings have a similar look (a couple of spirea, some day lilies, and a hydrangea or two) but the home gardens I see on a regular basis don’t seem “dated” to me. They seem to reflect the interests and passions of the homeowner/gardener. Each one is unique. Even on my block, where we share plants, which could create a bland look, each garden looks different. I think that’s because the personality of the gardener comes through.

I still don’t have an answer to what makes a garden “dated.” If you have any ideas, please post a comment and help me out!


Anonymous said...

I think if a landscape has manufactured modular paving systems, this is easily recognized by a date produced. My garden has pavers and I have been thinking of replacing them with natural stone like I install at client's properties. Cost is the issue as you would guess just to look more 'current and natural'.

As for the plants, styles change from formal to informal, structured to unstructured, native to hybrids and vise versa. It is what the magazines are showing that is the tell. Look in older periodicals and you can slightly see trends that go in and out of fashion. Even though the same plants are being used, it is HOW they are being used that makes them appear from another time. I look in older gardening periodicals and wonder how some gardens ever got photographed.

Your post made me think, and that is a good post in my book.

Donell said...

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I've nominated you for a blog award! Visit me at:
to see the details. Yes, it's my third blog.

Auntie K said...

gardenwalktardentalk: Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. It really does help me think about "how" the materials are used as well as what materials you choose. When you mentioned the modular paving systems, my mind went immediately to the railroad tie terraced gardens so popular decades ago.

My work has been crazy this week, and I haven't had a lot of time to look at back issues of my gardening magazines/books, but I shall do it Sunday morning. (Tomorrow, I'll be getting ready for our neighborhood Plant Swap.)

So glad to be connected! Thanks again, for your wisdom.

Anna said...

Gardening is like fashion and the descriptions used in writing about it are similar. What's in, what's new, trending now, exotic, what looks expensive etc. Japanese maples are like Jimmy Choos. Fashionista floristas like to have the "it" plant. Epimediums for example, or anything Japanese - minimalist design, modern feel. What's out are garden rooms. Not restful enough. Urban found garden art/furniture is a talking point. Similar to the mix n match outfits of youth culture. Remember when all the black plants were the rage? Sambucas etc. Formal rose beds at the HRBG (Hamilton Botanical) were said to be dated by a blogger. Made me think. How so? I mean, shouldn't rose beds be rectangular?

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