A Garden is a Moving Target
Strawberry tree fruit
To enjoy a garden is to embrace the temporary. Our favorite flowers always fade, turning into seeds or fruit, which will be eaten or fall and sprout or decay. New leaves emerge as old ones die and fall. Although we know that the seasons will come around again, it will never be quite the same.
Grass seed emerging
Landscapes evolve too. In nature, this is known as secession. For example, after a forest fire, “pioneer” shrubs and wildflowers first colonize the exposed landscape. These pioneer species provide some cover for tree seedlings to develop. As the trees grow up, they shade out the pioneers, which disappear, and the forest re-emerges.
Sea lavender – flower buds on left, fading flowers in center, new flowers on right
The 20th Street garden is nearly 2 years old and has gone through several changes already. Tiny plants have spread and grown. Drought, vandalism and natural selection have winnowed away some plant species as others have become more numerous. The return of normal rains will likely change this balance again.
California fuschia flowers turning to white seedpods
We can manage the landscape somewhat to meet our desires, but the more intensely we try to control it, the higher the economic and ecological cost. To have a completely manicured and lush garden would require much more water and maintenance. To ignore everything and let nature take its course would encourage weeds and make everything look shabby and neglected. Gardening is always a balancing act between aesthetics, budget and ecology.
New grass blades are red, mature blades green, dead blades tan
This garden is for you – find something to appreciate every time you walk by!