“It’s Dynamic”

A blowsy parrot tulip welcomes spring. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

A blowsy parrot tulip welcomes spring. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

That’s the response a flower farmer friend shared with me when I asked him how winter was going.

It was bitterly cold as we chatted over his display of greenhouse-forced tulips and hyacinths at the outdoor Sunday market in my neighborhood. Snowflakes were drifting and the wind was brutal. His polite, chin-up response neatly summed a challenging warmer-than-average growing season complicated by a late snowfall.

“It’s dynamic” might be the most spot-on description of a garden, and the act of gardening—in any season—that I have ever heard.

Dynamic is lively, filled with life force; it’s an expression of action and constant change rather than a state of being. And it’s a little bit enigmatic—judgment is suspended as to whether things are good or bad. It just is. Keen observers, good gardeners are aware of—wait for it—dynamic conditions and how they factor into all the natural systems at play in the landscape. Then we adapt. Like the Southern California gardener who moved north and had to learn to accommodate cool coastal growing conditions. We dig in and learn from one another. And if we’re lucky, our lives will be measured by the gardens we make.

One of my favorite aspects of a gardening life is when imagination and experience culminate in a creative act, like capturing remarkable photos of wildflowers framed in the context of a changing climate. You’ve probably heard us say, PHS believes in beautiful gardens connected to the world at large. This is what we mean.

As another great gardener once said, “Onward and upward in the garden.”