Monday, May 7, 2012

Gardening for Gen X and Yers

I read these two articles, Greening Up the Slackers and Where Are the Gen X& Y Gardeners , about the lack of Gen X and Y gardeners. It was interesting to think about this and try to think about what our Generation is like.

I agree with the criticism of the Greening Up guy about the laziness of our Generation. I think we don't like to work even though most of us are at "work" a lot of the time.  Most are working to make money not because we are satisfied by our work. We don't know how to enjoy work (like gardening). We are also spending lots of time at work because so much of work today is inefficient.

A lot of the "Where are the gardeners" article's comments mention that they are in apartments. I think a lot of our generation lives in apartments or is renting . We also move a lot. People buy a house and want to create a garden but you have commit to staying in a place for a while to slowly create a garden. You have to have a 5 to 10 year plan with gardening. I don't think patience and "settling" are virtues of our generation.

There is also the issue of having to deal with the last generation's ideas of gardening. Tearing up entire lawns and trying to find ways to get rid of grass is difficult, and not well enough explored yet. We don't know what to do with what we've got . One thing that irritated me a little in the Greening Up article was his assumption that what a lot of our generation likes are ornamental grasses and succulents, etc. That's a very modern look (not even postmodern if you ask me) which I dislike. I still like roses and hydrangeas mixed with some succulents etc. I don't want to paint my walls purple and plant cactus next to it. We haven't figured out a more balanced aesthetic to replace lawns. We also haven't figured out how to go back to keeping plants healthy without chemicals.

Lastly, we are broke. We don't have our parent's income to work with and that makes it a slower and more difficult process. Add things like new copyright laws on plants that are disease resistant and easier to care for that you aren't even allowed to propagate for free and it makes buying plants expensive. (Ridiculous that you can copyright an organism.) There is a trend to grow your own food and do square foot gardening because of food ethics and smaller incomes. Honestly I haven't seen that much earnestness from my generation even about that. The enthusiasm wanes when problems arise like pests.

I personally just decided to experiment on my own and see if I could rid myself of the gardening work I don't like (weed wacking, applying weed killer, and  most of the lawn mowing). I will have to do this work till a lot of my plants get bigger  and shade out weeds etc. but hopefully I am replacing that work with weeding raised beds and pruning that I don't mind. I don't plant needy plants ( I only plant the disease resistant landscape roses and hydrangeas) and I am looking for ways to get rid of lawn. I have decided not to care about having grass in my lawn vs. weed lawn. I do love landscaping with edibles and raised beds with weed barrier beneath them like many of our generation. Hopefully more of my generation will learn a love for gardening and better ways to garden.

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