For the first six years of my garden here in Columbia, Missouri, the goal was to plant and grow. I took out grass, created some hardscaping and planted, planted, planted. I’m now at a different point, I’m ready to start curating my garden.
There are several reasons for this turn in my gardening. First, I am running out of prime real estate. My yard is pretty small (less than 1/4 of an acre) and the areas with full sun are pretty full. Second, I realized that I want to get rid of some plants in order to make room for others. I have a ton of purple poppy mallow (and mint and common milkweed and some sort of native aster and cone flowers). It’s a native and it gives pretty flowers, but man does it spread (and spread and spread!). I have decided to contain it to a smaller portion of the yard in order to allow more room for other plants. Finally, I have learned a lot about gardening in Missouri. I know what grows and what struggles. I know what I like and what is too much work. At my heart, I am a lazy gardener and want a low maintenance garden. This means I can pull out some plants that are not bringing me joy (thanks Maria Kondo) to bring in others that will.
As I start digging up the less joyful plants to make space for new ones, I found I have an extreme aversion to throwing plants out. The good news is that I have also found that people love free plants! Instead of sending the old plants to plant heaven, I dig them up and put a post on our neighborhood Facebook group to let folks know there are free plants on the curb. Typically the plants get scooped up within an hour! This is great because it helps others enjoy the plants and alleviates my guilt.
As I continue to move toward a more curated collection of garden plants I will try to continue to document from time to time. If you are thinking it’s time to pivot toward a more carefully curated plant collection, I highly recommend Big Dreams, Small Spaces on Netflix. I have found immense joy and inspiration from this gardening show and think you might as well (Monty Don is the greatest!). So, grab a friend and a beer and start binging (keep a notebook handy). Also, I’d love to hear of any other inspirational shows or blogs to follow as I think through the next phase of my garden. Feel free to drop some recommendations in the comments.