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Plants are Landscape Materials?

Plants are Landscape Materials?

I was out in the greenhouse the other day tending to my “babies” thinking about the lack of gardening shows and over-abundance of landscaping shows on television these days. In an effort to get some kind of television gardening fix, I do admit that I watch landscape programming however end up frustrated most of the time.

One of my frustrations stems from “plant materials”.  Since when are plants materials?  Most of these programs treat plants just like any other landscape material, be it paving stones, landscape bricks or gravel.  As gardeners, we see our plants as living things that require care, attention and knowledge.

Every where I go in the city, I see once beautiful umbrellas of mesquite trees butchered into stumps because someone planted them in a parking lot where the branches would scratch cars.  In neighborhoods, I see palm trees being yanked from the ground because they were planted twelve inches away from a house.  On front porches, I see containers of cool climate shade plants baking in the hot desert sun.

Even if the trend of television programming stays with landscaping instead of gardening, it is my hope that they change their focus from design to education.  Design could still be a part of the program, however programming would begin educating people to treat plants as living things instead of landscape materials.

An entire generation of brown thumbs could be turned into green thumbs.  Homeowners would realize that the beautiful landscape design would stay beautiful just by knowing their plants, what soil the plants like and what amount of sun the plants want.

I hold the philosophy that a green thumb is learned.  We could start by helping our friends, relatives and neighbors and show them not to put a plant of bleeding heart in the middle of the sunny yard.  We can keep them from putting a sapling right next to the driveway.  We can show them plant alternatives that work in our climates.  Imagine the possibilities!

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