Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Garden is a Bricolage. Is yours?

The word of the day for the 11th of October 2010 is as you may have guessed by now, Bricolage. Which means, so I am told a, “Construction or something constructed by using whatever materials happen to be available.” And the example given was, “Cooking with leftovers was bricolage--a dialogue between the cook and the available materials. -- Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash.”
As I thought about this dialogue between the cook and the available materials in dealing with leftover food, I couldn’t but help see the relationship between that and my Garden.
Listening to some garden programs on TV, they talk about how they come to a site, with already conceived plans and then work them into the property they have, Buying and bringing in all they desire from elsewhere. In my experience that works fine if you have the time. And the money! However my own personal approach is: to start with what you have before you and work up from there, with whatever you can economically get your hands on.
Are there lots of rocks available and a very low spot somewhere that you can’t fill? No problem! Use the rocks to make a rockery around a sunken Garden, like I did in one place in South Africa. Moved into a place with literally only one plant in it? No Problem! Just see what plants your friends and neighbours have in excess and are only too happy to get rid of. Take seeds and cuttings when available, and within 18 months you will be able in turn to give 2-Station wagon loads of plants away to your Children’s School. Again like we did in South Africa. Got lots of timber lying around and a hilly slope? Again no problem! Use the timber to terrace the slope. (Did that at my parents place here in Australia!) And if you move about a fair bit like we did, have your favourite plants in pots, so that you can take the best with you if the move is only local. Of course taking them to or from South Africa is out of the equation, but locally or Interstate is not. I have two huge Palms in 2 lage pots that have moved with us around Melbourne, 5 times now since I first brought them down from NSW’s a little over10 years ago.
All this is not to belittle well planned out and executed gardens. Not at all. They are a beauty to behold and put most bricolage gardens, like mine, in their place. But that said, with little money and using the Bricolage method, one can still have a beautiful garden and one you can happily leave for others to share when you have to move on.
So are you wasting precious resources, when you could be making better use of them by using the Bricolage process? What has been said about Gardens can also be said about our lives too! So are you also living a bricolage life and making the most of all that is currently available? Or wasting Good resources in your desire for better things? Better things that it seems, rarely ever come! What say you now?

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