Saturday, January 07, 2006

Having a planty tanty

First an explanation of tanty: it's the Aussie abbreviation for "tantrum", so you "throw a tanty". Well, if Tom Jones can have a panty tanty as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald a few years ago, then I'm allowed a planty tanty, just a minor rant about modern garden trends.

What is happening to gardens these days? Is it happening only in Australia? And I find it doubly bad that it's happening here in Victoria, which used to be known as The Garden State.

Gardens are under siege from 1) the drought (can't do much about Mother Nature), 2) the modern trend to build big houses that extend practically to all boundaries, leaving little space for gardens, and 3) another trend to multiple plantings all of the same type, in straight lines no less. Boring! And downright silly too, when they trim bushes to have little pom-poms on top, like a head on a stick-like neck atop a roly poly bush. Ridiculous! These "gardens" are done by landscaping companies that buy the plants in bulk and just fill the space. And that is the extent of the "garden". Soul-less.

Having fewer trees to shade houses, very important in the Australian sun, is made worse by modern houses having no verandas, eaves or other type of overhang, making people even more reliant on using air conditioners to keep cool.

Are these trends happening elsewhere? End of tanty.


Alice said...

Feel better, Val? Susan (Takoma Gardener) raises similar issues in her posting of 31 October. Both Calidore and I commented at length to her posting.

It would be nice if the trend was only confined to Victoria, much as I love that State. Unfortunately, it's certainly Australia-wide, and I get the feeling from some blog postings that it's a trend in the US as well.

Okay, the drought has had an impact, but in some ways it's been good that it's made us rethink our plant selection, etc.

Lower interest rates have meant that people could borrow more money and build larger homes. That would be alright if only money didn't rule everything - developers cutting up land into ever smaller blocks. Houses are getting bigger but blocks are about half the size they were a few years ago. As for no eaves or verandas - well, don't get me started on that one.

And then there's the 'gardens'. Well, for a start there's little room to have a garden or a decent tree. Many people either don't have time or the inclination to look after a garden and the solution, for them, is the type of garden you describe. Then there's the lack of playing space for children in modern yards - of course, these are the children that the population isn't having anyway!

Val said...

Thanks for the reference to Susan's discussion of this, I'll certainly look that up, although I don't think I'll like what I find.

Agreed about some "positives" coming out of the drought. For starters, the popularity and appreciation of grasses. Alice (Growing Delight) has a beauty in her recent post. Must have!

Takoma Gardener said...

Wow, interesting, especially the pom-poms and straight rows. Do these designers never look at what's going on anywhere else, like for the last 30 years at least? Seems like they're stuck in teh '60s.
But the new homes without much garden around them, I guess we'll have to blame the developers and the almighty dollar. I'm lucky to be in an old suburb, very close to the city, and i never see that stuff but I believe you and am equally horrified.

Jude said...

All the farmland around the Gold Coast is filling up fast with new suburbs of Mediterranean style houses without verandahs, eaves or gardens. It seems that what people want is maximum living space for their dollar. Young people don't have time for gardens any more; they get their exercise indoors at the gym.

I must say that occasionally, when everything is dying for lack of water and the weeds and leaves are taking over, I hanker for a nice upstairs apartment too.

Val said...

It's true that people who more into apartments feel suddenly liberated from a lot of chores associated with gardening, and that's understandable. What I would miss is being able to go out into the garden and be totally private (hoping of course that a huge house isn't built next door that will overlook everything).

Takoma Gardener said...

Val, if I had to live in an apartment I'd have that look on my face that you do in that hilarious photo. Susan

Val said...

Well, I'm glad someone appreciates that photo. I'm certainly not posting it for vanity's sake, but the "man who cooks" thinks it's false advertising.Well, I should hope so!

It really stands out in the comments lists!