When did gardens stop being gardens and become inside-out homes?
Backyards are now “retreats” with areas to cook, dine, bathe and even sleep.
The most luxurious include a fireplace built into a “crumbling” wall that provides the illusion that the homeowner’s backyard is on the remains of a stately home.
I actually love these indoor/outdoor spaces, but where is the garden?
In suburban New Jersey where I live, people are on their front lawns to mow them, but typically no one hangs out there. The front lawn is meant to be the buffer between the house and street.
People are in their backyard retreats with their firepits, pergolas, grills, dining areas, and places to nap, bathe and play devices.
Even the plants get the indoor treatment. The lawn is treated like a living rug. Mowed and raked to be as clean as a shampooed carpet. It’s on-trend to decorate outdoor rooms with potted plants instead of planted plants.
Doesn’t anyone want to garden anymore?
I know. Who has time to cultivate a garden when work and school creeps into every waking moment? There is a lot to retreat from these days.
What does gardening do for me that is better than any built backyard? During my daily 10-minute round to check on things I may dig out a few weeds, but I also:
take in the smell of the Earth
notice the beautiful mix of red and orange viburnum leaves
grasp and tug the fluffy Little Bluestem stalks and let the dry seeds fall where I want more Little Bluestem
watch the cardinals pick off the last Chokeberries
look inside a yellow goldenrod and find a bee taking the last nectar of the year
Even in mid-Fall the garden is teeming with life—going into its own retreat.
Yes, build your outdoor retreat….but also include a bit of the wild to refresh your soul.