Welcome to the university for self-taught gardeners

We gardeners are a critical lot and are very hard to please.

We love being outdoors but then every few years we have to battle the elements; the heat waves that desiccate our plants or the storms that tear our trees apart. Having to be battle-hardened is what we signed up for because we have an intimate relationship with our best friends – plants.Every year we begin with tremendous optimism and end slightly disappointed.Is the problem botanical, horticultural, artistic or practical? The journey of the self-taught gardener never ends, is full of pitfalls but, to quote Gertrude Jekyll, “the power of intelligent combination is the nearest we can know to the mighty force of creation”.
The alumni of self-taught gardeners
Vita Sackville-West, who created the world-famous garden of the 20th century, Sissinghurst, was what I would call a plantswoman/gardener. She was blessed to be able to call upon her husband, Harold Nicholson, to create a ground layout upon which she could create her work of art. The practical left hand assisting the artistic right to create an iconic, world-famous garden. Wikipedia don’t describe Vita as a gardener – they say she was primarily a poet and writer, as well as a garden designer. Being a self-taught gardener clearly has no kudos.
The great French and Italian self-taught gardeners
The creator of the world’s most visited garden Versailles, Andre Le Notre, studied mathematics, painting and architecture as the foundation for his gardening career, being in charge of the most expensive garden ever created 350 years ago. Painting was Claude Monet’s driving force behind the very recent popular garden at Giverny, an hour from Paris. Whilst plants take centre stage in most gardens, at Villa d’Este, just an hour’s drive from Rome, the focus is the sight and sound of water flowing through great epic sculptures whilst plants are there simply to provide shade.It’s hard to believe that all the 500 jets operated without modern pumps over 450 years ago. Now we haven’t even begun to consider Japanese or Chinese gardens some of which are over 1,000 years old.
Why is there no kudos for being a self-taught gardener?
So what has this got to do with being a self-taught gardener you may ask? Well, over 90% of the world’s finest gardens were completed before gardening education began to be professionally taught. At a cocktail party many years ago I was asked what I did for a living. “I am a gardener” I said and my companion apologised for asking, presuming I would be embarrassed to admit to such a lowly occupation.  If I had said I am an economics graduate,  a businessman or a philanthropist he would have been satisfied but it would not have been an honest answer. What I have learnt from gardening is worth all the study at school and university, because “I now know what I don’t know” and that is both humbling and the beginning of wisdom.

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Monsanto’s DDT was banned in Australia in 1987. When will Monsanto’s Roundup be banned?

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Member Exclusives
COMPLETE SUMMER VEGIE COLLECTION
COMPLETE SUMMER VEGIE COLLECTION
PLANTS: PCOSVP
Grow your own summer vegie garden with this instant collection of our top tasting heirloom vegetables! The pack comes with our three best tasting tomatoes ('Tommy Toe', 'Pink Bumblebee' and 'Crazy Barry'), plus 3 'California Wonder' capsicums, 3 'Listada di Gandia' Italian Eggplants, and 5 Basil speedings plus Heirloom Lettuce Mix and Lebanese C...
Member $39.95
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RHUBARB GARDEN COLLECTION
RHUBARB GARDEN COLLECTION
PLANTS: PRHCO
Harvest fresh rhubarb all year with this garden collection of rhubarbs. With summer varieties 'Cherry Red' and 'Big Boy' for the warmer months, then abundant short day cropping from 'Winter Wonder' you can grow all your rhubarb needs for the year in 5m square. Two bare root crowns of each, available winter only.
Member $49.95
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2 YEAR MEMBERSHIP AND FREE POTATO PACK
2 YEAR MEMBERSHIP AND FREE POTATO PACK
Membership: MNE2PT
SPECIAL WEB OFFER- Join The Diggers Club today for two years and you'll receive a free packet of King Edward seed potatoes. This variety is unbeaten all-rounder. Plant them after the chance of frost is over and enjoy your own home grown spuds. You'll also receive our 'Welcome to the Club' gift pack of 2 free packets of seeds, the current Diggers...
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
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