I enjoy antique motorcycles. I take pleasure in studying their mechanical details in museums in pristine showroom condition. But what I truly love are old bikes that their owners have made their own. Rather than making the vehicle look like it came off the showroom floor, they make or adapt pieces to better fit their needs. It may be functional like the disc brake on my 1948 Harley, or aesthetical like the huge brass headlight I have. You see the creativity in the machine, and suddenly it becomes authentic. The owner has made the motorcycle his or her own.
Our personal gardens are an opportunity to be creative. We get to build what we want. It doesn’t have to be perfect or grand; nor do our gardens have to follow all the rules. Like talking with the guy at the gas station with the greasy, well worn bike we get to share our stories. We get to know more about the owner through his machine in just a short period of time. As you watch him ride away you see the two are on a journey together.
When we visit a friend back yard it’s the same. We find out that the iris are fourth generation heirlooms, and the Fairy rose you simply had to have because it reminds you of the neighbor’s garden when you were a child. The hydrangea is in memory of your mother as it was her favorite plant. And that old bird bath you found at a flea market while on vacation ten years ago, and lugged it around the entire trip. When we leave we not only have gleaned more about you, we realize this is your garden; you created it because it was what you wanted. It is authentic.