I’m not talking about the always effusive ‘Altissimo’ climbing rose or an over zealous Jasmine vine. I’m talking about social climbing in the garden world, mostly seen in plant descriptions on website and online nurseries. Here’s an example of what I mean:
“Clematis are the aristocrat of climbers; their rich hues and varied bloom times enable the gardener to have masses of bloom from late winter to late fall. “
I’m assuming they mean that clematis is hobnobbing with nobility, spending “old money” and purchasing vast acres of land? The latter being why they sprawl out so much?
In any event, this got me thinking about my own social class and where I would fit in. Is my gardening style and plant preference indicative of French Revolution or kombucha-pushing Berkeley farmer? Am I a lady who lunches kind of gardener, or an antiquated clodhopper?
I’ve tried to get in with the Boronia crowd. A few years back I had a brief but thrilling affair with one in my old garden, but since never have really tried to rekindle anything. It’s a botanical social circle I just don’t seem to fit into – they have uptight drainage needs, and I have an unacceptable amount of clay soil. Rhododendrons are another class I just can’t get with. We’ve both actively tried to spend some time together, rubbing shoulders at landscape design events and garden parties – I’ve even made the gesture of planting some for a few clients. But neither one of us feels at home with the other, keeping our guards up and realizing things could end badly.
I’d like to think it’s not my style to climb a social class, but rather to sprout a new one. Cultivating one part cover crops, one part annies annuals, another part heirloom veggie seed with a smattering of vertical succulent growing. Oh, and mushroom compost.
A flute of cuvée de prestige doesn’t hurt either.