This is how I most like to garden—as a matchmaker who introduces a modest flower to a shy spot of land and watches them hit it off so well that I am irrelevant.
—Carol Graham Chudley and Dorothy Field, Between Gardens: Observations on Gardening, Friendship and Disability
I love this metaphor of the garden as a love affair between plants and the land. In this book, an exchange of letters between two gardeners, the authors both describe how they learned to let plants decide where they want to grow. They tried the horticultural equivalent of arranged marriages but found more success, and less stress, by welcoming volunteers, scattering seeds broadly, and letting the plants decide where they want to grow. Reading about the trials and errors of these two experienced gardeners makes me feel better about the weedy tangle that I call my garden. I’ve already learned some of their lessons. One winter I lost a lovely patch of Spanish lavender to cold and snow but rather than replace it I chose to plant more of the lavender varieties that had survived. This approach is really the only option given my marginal energy levels. There are times when I just can’t get into the garden for days or even weeks at a time, so if a plant can’t make it on its own, it isn’t going to make it in my garden!