As an editor at Fine Gardening, I’ve taken quite a few of the photos of the “perfect gardens” in glossy magazines that people complain about on a perennial basis. People say that gardens like that don’t exist, that they don’t show the real world of gardening that’s full of bugs, heat, and clashing colors.
I beg to differ.
When I’m in one of those “perfect gardens” with my camera at 6 a.m., fighting off mosquitoes that should still be in bed, it’s perfectly obvious to me that this is a “real garden” created by a real, passionate, talented, and inspiring gardener. They just happen to be really good at what they do, and it shows. If I’m lucky, and I often am, they’re out there with me as I snap away, offering me coffee and insights into how they created such a joy of a garden. They have dirty fingernails, too. And permanently stained pant knees, achy backs, and a long, long list of plants they’ve killed.
As a writer, I like to read really good writing, better than mine will ever be. I can learn from it, aspire to its level. Same goes with the gardening info I crave. I want to be inspired. I want to see the success that comes from years of trial and error. We may think we need to see the “real side of gardening.” But in reality, we already are.
Commenting on don't hate them......As an avid gardener who has been tending the same soil for almost 25 years.These gardens do exist and they are impressive.
I totally agree Michelle! When you enter a magazine worthy garden, you know it as soon as you see it. Not only are their tenders good gardeners, they have a knack of putting it all together. In my mind, it is an art form through and through. When Picasso doodled, it was good.
Just like learning to paint, there are techniques that can be learned to make you better. Gardening is a journey. Reading, observing, doing help those interested in taking their garden to the next level get there. So pick up a magazine or book, attend symposia, go on garden tours, get active in your garden club. I guarantee you will learn something each time to make you a better gardener.
Just like the photo used in the example, its the colors, the rhythm, the varying heights, the contrasts, the placement, the path, the lighting...yes the lighting. Like you say, you are there at 6:00 am. The light is softer and that makes a difference.
After all these years gardening, I still wake up everyday and wonder what awaits me in my gardening journey.
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