It’s true, and that was something I wrote about in these garden thoughts. But pretty can make some of life’s all too real tragedy bearable. It is that fine balance, really, that the making of art revolves around. There is a time for photo documentary and there is a time for photoshop… to put it in familiar terms.
One thing that often bothered me about the art world was the restrictive elitism of all that angst which was supposed to mean you were a “real artist”; and one thing that I loved, conversely, about gardening was the way a garden was an expression of whatever you feel is wonderful or beautiful or ….yes, just plain pretty. The problem with mere prettiness in life is when it becomes a consuming editor of all our aims and thoughts.
Sometimes I don’t want my garden, or my writing, or my communication to be only the merely pretty. But I do want beauty, which is sometimes wild, and sometimes quite trained and tamed.
I guess my point is that as soon as we make these odd sorts of “rules” we miss out on the wide spectrum of experience that life is supposed to contain.
Nothing is wrong with “pretty” or “pleasant” until it becomes a petty bureaucratic taskmaster. You know, the politically correct syndrome. Much of life’s real beauty is about freedom is another way I would phrase it. Freedom is beautiful. Freedom flourishes with ideas and guidelines, and suffers terribly with too many rules, and martinets to enforce them. And nothing like art points that out half so well.
Which brings me to something I believe about gardening. Gardens at their best are an art expression. They are man’s hand upon nature, sometimes so subtle that it is an illusion of no manipulation at all to the extremes of control and imagination, but they are most definitely an outcome of the mind, will, sweat, sometimes blood, and finances of the maker.
So yes, a garden is more than merely pretty, but pretty certainly is part of it.
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© 2012 written for Ilona’s Garden Journal. An excellent blog.