Sit up and beg

29 Apr

Large raised bed

The scales have fallen from my eyes. For some reason, I have assumed in the past that agave species and the like did not require much coaching in order to succeed here in Cheshire. Kept above the absolute minimum temperature necessary for survival, succulents can be regarded as vegetative automata, oscillating imperturbably between winter dormancy and summer growth. Or so I thought.

This is not true. A nice chunky, spiky agave has a look of permanence (chunky) and self assurance (spiky). It looks masculine in a clichéd way; as though it can take care of itself. I think I assumed that my resident agaves could literally take care of themselves. Well, not with the amount of rain that falls here, especially not the pisspoor April weather the garden has had.

They haven’t died or anything. Anyway, having a more realistic view of succulents’ potential in the garden is no bad thing. I enjoy the perversity of growing lush, jungly plants in a cold temperate part of the world, now I can know and enjoy the perversity of growing spiky plants too; besides not being tactile, they are difficult to satisfy.

But is it the plants that are difficult to satisfy or is it the gardener? I think the latter. Gardeners cultivate a kitsch simulation of nature because they find the world around them unsatisfying. What gardeners are doing is slavering over their patch of nature with the emollient goo of condescension. I have a problem with this.

I have a solution to it too.


Nature in my bit of suburbia is going to have to stand on its back legs, sit up and beg, wear a tutu and jump through a hoop.

Shade border


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