Perhaps it’s a sign that the garden blog genre is maturing . . . perhaps not. Nevertheless, I was delighted when the Bookish Gardener threw down the gauntlet and offered this “taste test”–except it’s not all about taste. (See my objections at the end.) What you do is, copy her list into your own blog, and then highlight your own choices in bold. Her preferences are always the first listed, so you can easily calculate what percentage of choices coincide. And then, like me, you can argue with all of them. C’mon, it’s summer; join in the fun!
1. Lilies: oriental or asiatic?
2. No-till or till?
3. Bare hands or garden gloves?
4. Garden tchotchkes, no or yes?
5. Clay or sand?
6. Shrub roses or hybrid teas?
7. Hollyhocks: single or double?
8. Foliage: gray or glaucous?
9. Hemerocallis: flava or fulva?
10. Impatiens: double or single?
11. Calendula or tagetes?
12. Arborvitae or juniper?
13. Spaded edge or “edging”?
14. Asters or mums?
15. Reflecting pool or coursing waterfall?
16. Morning glory blue or forget-me-not blue?
17. Lettuce: leaf or cos?
18. Hyacinth bean or red runner bean?
19. Orange or pink?
20. Garden bed shapes: formal or informal?
21. Garden bed planting schemes: informal or formal?
22. Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead?
23. Spirea japonica: dried flowerheads standing over the winter or in bloom?
24. Japanese beetle drowning medium: kerosene or dishsoap solution?
25. Garden stroll time: dusk or dawn?
Fifty-two percent agreement, by my calculations. But–but–but I have to explain everything! So click the “more” link for all my appendations (is that a word?), equivocations, and objections.
1. Lilies: oriental or asiatic? Oriental for the fragrance. I think they’re both gorgeous, and the Asiatic are a bit easier to grow.
2. No-till or till? Till! Well, not till, exactly, but dig it all up to the depth of my biggest spading fork. How else are you going to get out the stones? But after I’ve dug through a bed once, that’s it.
3. Bare hands or garden gloves? Bare hands for the most part. I make exceptions for brambles, nettles, and public enemy number one.
4. Garden tchotchkes, no or yes? Wait, what do we mean by “tchotchkes,” anyway? A sundial with classical lines or a pink flamingo? Never mind, I don’t have either. In general I like “objects” in other people’s gardens, but I’m still trying to get mine weeded. No need to further decorate a mess.
5. Clay or sand? This is interesting to know, but it’s not a matter of taste–it’s the hand you were dealt as a gardener. So what’s it doing in a “taste test”?
6. Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrub roses. Hybrid teas won’t make it through the winter here anyway, but they remind me of clothes mannikins.
7. Hollyhocks: single or double? My husband says the double ones remind him of colored facial tissues bunched up, and I have to agree.
8. Foliage: gray or glaucous? I confess I have a hard time remembering what the difference is. I think I actually like them both.
9. Hemerocallis: flava or fulva? Flava. Every fragrant, lemon-colored daylily is my friend. But fulva grows better for me, of course.
10. Impatiens: double or single? Oh, those rosebud impatiens are adorable! I’ve never actually grown them, but I’ve seen them. Some day . . .
11. Calendula or tagetes? Actually, as long as they’re lemon yellow (not gold!), I like them both. But I don’t like the smell of marigolds–uh, tagetes. (If I did like the smell it would be a fragrance, natch.)
12. Arborvitae or juniper? Tough call, since I don’t grow either. But I remember the rash I got weeding grass out of low-growing junipers as a teenager, so aborvitae gets the vote.
13. Spaded edge or “edging”? Another tough one. Tried both, have problems with both. I’m gonna write a blog entry about this some day, really I am.
14. Asters or mums? Supposedly they’re out there, but I haven’t yet found mums that reliably come through the winter for me. And I just like asters better.
15. Reflecting pool or coursing waterfall? My little rivulet only flows in the spring and does not quite make it to waterfall, but reflecting pools have I none.
16. Morning glory blue or forget-me-not blue? In my mind’s eye I tried to envision the difference in color between these two, and I couldn’t do it. But I always have forget-me-nots, and only rarely morning glories. By the time they really get going, it’s just about time for the first frost.
17. Lettuce: leaf or cos? This one puzzled me. By cos I assume you mean romaine, and I think of romaine as a kind of leaf lettuce. What I don’t care for is bowling ball iceberg types, and I don’t like black-seeded Simpson.
18. Hyacinth bean or red runner bean? I’ve grown the scarlet runner bean and only seen the hyacinth bean in pictures, but from what I’ve seen I like the hyacinth bean better.
19. Orange or pink? Both, actually. But not next to each other, for heavens’ sake!
20. Garden bed shapes: formal or informal? Nothing is plumb, or level, or square in my house, so why should it be in my garden?
21. Garden bed planting schemes: informal or formal? Informal. Semi-organized chaos, in gardening as in life.
22. Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? Not fair, as I can’t even grow the mopheads. The look of lace-caps irritates me, like they can’t make up their minds what kind of flower to be.
23. Spirea japonica: dried flowerheads standing over the winter or in bloom? Never seen the flowerheads in winter, as I currently do not have spirea in my garden. Some day . . .
24. Japanese beetle drowning medium: kerosene or dishsoap solution? Chan! Kerosene is flammable! Actually I don’t use either method. I don’t have a big Japanese beetle problem, and I think that’s partly because we have chickens. They eat the grubs. Also don’t have many roses (yet) so there aren’t many for them to chow down on.
25. Garden stroll time: dusk or dawn? Any time is a good time, but I most often find myself out there in the morning. Not dawn for Pete’s sake, not when dawn comes at 5:30, at least. At dusk I am too often putting children to bed.
Prairie Point, Zanthan Gardens, Ilona, GardenSpot, Gardener’s Notebook, Hands in the Dirt (and all the others–you know who you are): don’t be shy! Make your own taste known! And then, follow my example. Append! Amend! Equivocate! Explicate! Object! Applaud! I think that will actually be the best part.