In my previous entry, I reached back to the 90’s to reference Seinfeld. I must be nostalgic, because the Talking Heads’ “(Nothing but) Flowers” was running through my head this morning. I assume David Bryne’s tongue was firmly in cheek when he mourned the loss of 20th century consumer culture:
I like to imagine planting a native garden as an affirmative act toward shaping some post-apocalyptic (or post-carbon) landscape. Where Bryne saw corn fields replacing discount stores (not realizing how fossil-fuel intensive agriculture really is), I gleefully imagine California sagebrush and coastal goldenbush spreading from surviving native gardens to sprout up between patches of dead lawn in neighboring yards.
I’m not really looking forward to the collapse of civilization as we know it… but I think native landscapes can be a seed source in a different kind of way.
As I explore San Diego neighborhoods on my bike, I’ve noticed that good landscaping seems to be contagious. I’ll ride down one street filled with unkempt lawns and boring shrubbery, then turn the corner onto a block graced by lots of creative, interesting gardens. If this is a benign way to keep up with the Jones, and I’m all for it.
I’ve noticed this with native gardens as well. Once neighbors observe the variety, color, and life that a native plant landscape offers, they get curious and want to learn more. Native plant gardeners, still a relatively rare breed, are usually eager to share their methods and so the native plants expand their range.