A Schizophragma integrifolium in Every Garden, and Two Cars in Every Garage
The latest issue of Gardens Illustrated (a magazine I love), has a cover story entitled “Tom Stuart-Smith’s 100 Plants Every Gardener Should Grow”, by the English landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith.
I immediately took that
title as a challenge, and looked through the article to see the number of plants, of the 100 I SHOULD grow, that I’m actually growing.
And here’s the answer: of the 100 plants I should be growing, I am actually growing only five. Obviously I need a much bigger garden! Of course, the list put together by Stuart-Smith is extremely precise, down to the cultivated variety. So let’s include plants where I am growing a cultivar of the same species very similar to the one listed.
That brings me up to around twelve out of 100, which pretty clearly represents a failing grade for me as a gardener.
One reason I really can’t grow all of Stuart-Smith’s 100 is that at least 1/4 are not hardy in my zone. Others require growing conditions I cannot provide. And a whole bunch of them I don’t particularly like. Others I might like but don’t have room for.
To come up with a list that “every gardener should grow” is an exercise in silliness. The title is probably not meant to be taken literally, but still… Imagine some poor inexperienced gardener, frantically attempting to cram his little plot full of the prescribed plants, most of which will die within the year.
However, my understanding is that authors rarely get to come up with the titles for their own articles, so I’m going to give Tom Stuart-Smith the benefit of the doubt here.
There are, of course, no plants that EVERY gardener should grow. The plants that gardeners should grow are the ones that suit the garden’s growing conditions, as well as the preferred style and individual taste of the gardener.