How have your thoughts on gardening
changed over the years? I fell in love with bearded iris after seeing them in my grandfather's garden. Then with natives after seeing the display gardens at the NC Botanical Garden. Then with natives some more after seeing the wildflowers in PA (acres and acres of Blue-Eyed Mary, just for starters), and the wildflowers on our own property. Not that I have an all-native garden, by any means, however. I love bearded iris and the non-native roses too much to ever be without those. I learned which plants will tolerate flooding (the longest we've had is 3 days) and which will not (the majority of plants will, I'd say 75%). Most of all to accept the losses and to keep a fairly large propagation program going to expand and fill in any gaps. I'm back and forth about weeding. The green grass that grows all winter and which the rabbits will not touch -- I usually end up yanking it but sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. I tried to have a big perennial border, but found it needed structure for winter interest, and so have added shrubs such as Buddleia and tea roses. I couldn't find anything native for full sun that wasn't too dense or wouldn't get too big. I think structure is the most important aspect of a garden, that and concentrated areas of interest at different times of the year.
What has surprised me most about gardening is how fast things change year to year -- I think I expected more permanence. Sometimes I feel as though I am re-creating part of the garden every year, even though that isn't true. It's all about finding the right spots for plants and that always seems to involve some trial and error. Now the garden has undergone a major shift with the house being moved. I am enjoying having a place to garden out of the floodplain and the gardens around the house have come together much more quickly than they did when the house was in its original location.
What have you learned from your experiences and how have your thoughts on gardening changed over the years?