Snobbery in the flower beds

@boiboing (12206)
Northampton, England
May 22, 2016 2:21pm CST
If you're British -- or if you've ever been to the UK -- you'll know that we are a nation of gardeners and we're pretty obsessive about our gardens. I doubt there's any other country where Friday night TV means hours of gardening shows and Sunday afternoon radio runs a very long running show called 'Gardeners' Question Time'. This morning I heard some people on a radio show talking about plant snobbery. A critically acclaimed gardener (yep, we have LOTS of famous gardeners) was talking about how somebody had come up to him at a big show and said he hated his display because he'd used petunias. Petunias are pretty but they're considered a bit 'common'. My personal snobbery is against small flowered begonias. I think there's an aversion to any type of flower that's typically used in public parks and flower beds financed by the local council. Last year we planted some verbena bonariensis, not knowing what they were (or how tall they'd grow) and then found out that they were REALLY trendy. You can be sure if we do something trendy in the garden it will be by accident. This year we've planted lots of dahlias - plants that were really popular in the 1970s when I was a child and which I associate with old men because our neighbour at that time loved them and spent most of the summer fussing over his dahlias. Personally I think people should plant what they like and what works in their soil and to hell with whether they're fashionable or not.
14 people like this
16 responses
@marlina (71263)
• Canada
22 May 16
dahlias have been around since way before my time as a kid and that is a long time ago.
2 people like this
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
22 May 16
Yes, of course they've been around a very long time. But they were REALLY trendy in the 1970s in the UK. They're as characteristic as big bold wallpaper designs and flared trousers.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (37027)
• Portland, Connecticut
22 May 16
lol I can't afford to be a snob, if it will grow and won't die on me, I am delighted. It seems my English grandmothers green thumb didn't make it to my hand
2 people like this
@xFiacre (4266)
• Ireland
22 May 16
@boiboing Yellow carnations do it for me. Daliahs are a flash back for me to Malawi in the 60/70s. Very colonial.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
22 May 16
Our neighbour was a lovely old chap who wore a flat hat, kept budgies and always smelled of Victory Vs. Your yellow carnations remind me that I really don't like African Marigolds.
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (4266)
• Ireland
22 May 16
@boiboing marigolds make me think of India and being festooned by them every time I visited a remote place. We grew French marigolds in Malawi. Flowery memories.
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (21551)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
22 May 16
Or not plant, as the case may be...? Well done on the Verbena! My Gran's dahlias were the best place to encounter earwigs...
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
22 May 16
I'm really excited about the retro dahlias.
2 people like this
@pgntwo (21551)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
22 May 16
@boiboing I hope they raise your garden cred a notch or two!
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (52163)
• Los Angeles, California
22 May 16
My first trip to the UK and I see gardening shows on prime time TV!
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
22 May 16
Like I said, we're totally obsessed.
1 person likes this
@paigea (21755)
• Canada
23 May 16
Yes, we plant what appeals to us. I wouldn't know what's trendy!
1 person likes this
@norcal (3216)
• Nevada City, California
23 May 16
Common probably equals inexpensive. That works for me.
1 person likes this
@Jackalyn (6620)
• Oxford, England
23 May 16
Oh no! My secret is out. I am common. I put petunias in the hanging basket. I wondered why they seemed OK and where so cheap and now I know!
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
23 May 16
If you love them then that's all that matters.
@Jackalyn (6620)
• Oxford, England
23 May 16
@boiboing Oh but what must the neighbours be thinking?
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
23 May 16
@Jackalyn Nice baskets?
@valmnz (12596)
• New Zealand
23 May 16
Wow, I'm glad no Brits are ever likely to see my garden!
@boiboing (12206)
• Northampton, England
23 May 16
Fortunately you couldn't really be much further away from the UK.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12596)
• New Zealand
23 May 16
@boiboing we couldn't be much further away from most places
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (47790)
• Centralia, Missouri
23 May 16
I agree! I pick what I like, but sadly what I can get is affected by what is available which is in turn affected by what is trendy
@JudyEv (118802)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 May 16
It seems there is some snobbery involved in most areas of life - which is a great shame. Ferns were very 'big' when my Mum was gardening.
@teamfreak16 (40502)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
23 May 16
People should take your advice to life in general, as well as gardening.
• United States
23 May 16
I would be criticized for my choices. Much of my garden is dotted with purples. I try to change it up, but fall back to my old favorite color. I did just plant some sunflowers and four o'clocks. Not sure if they will do well or not. It will be interesting to see what comes up. I plant what I like and don't give a flying fig about what others say.
@celticeagle (117189)
• Boise, Idaho
23 May 16
I tend to agree with you. Snobs can have their niceties and leave the rest to us. Haha
• United Kingdom
23 May 16
Those that are snobs should be lucky that some flowers will actually grow. In Scotland, flowers of different types need to sustain the damp soil most of the year because of the constant rain and wind.
@dwstory (967)
• Roseburg, Oregon
22 May 16
I am going to plant tomatoes and I do not care what anyone else plants. I will plant what I want. No matter what others are going to plant.