Aesthetics vs Production

2016-10-08-16-01-56-smThere is tension in our garden—tension between the gardener who focuses on production and the gardener who focuses on aesthetics.

When the aesthetic gardener suggests a circular pattern to the vegetable garden, with a bench and sundial in the middle, the functional gardener rolls her eyes and asks how she’s going to manoeuvre a wheelbarrow around a bench and sundial. When the production gardener staples deer fencing onto her trellises instead of using the more attractive, but less functional jute, the aesthetic gardener shakes his head with dismay.

But production and aesthetics don’t have to clash. Indeed, they often go hand-in-hand. What makes for efficient production is often aesthetically pleasing.

Take the berry beds at Crazy Corner Farm, for instance. Three long rows with grass paths in between. Every spring, I spend days with a flat shovel re-establishing the edges of the beds—making them crisp and straight. It makes good sense from a production standpoint—it keeps the grass from creeping in to compete with the berries. It also makes it easier to mow if the grass doesn’t spread underneath the bushes.

Aesthetically, the crisp straight edges are perfect. They invite an evening stroll down the paths, and give a pleasing long view all the way from the front to the back of the property.

When the edges are tidy and the paths mown, both gardeners can relax and enjoy the view.

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