It’s fascinating to watch how people interact with gardens. Some are primarily spectators, staying carefully on established paths and walking with their hands at their sides, as if they are afraid to break the flowers and leaves by laying a finger on them. These seem to be mostly non-gardeners, but some gardeners too are mostly hands-off, seemingly content to admire from afar but not thinking to touch except for necessary maintenance. They’re also very careful to keep paths clear, sticking to the short-plants-at-the-front “rule” and staking or snipping off anything that’s inclined to lean over the edge.
Then there are the full-contact folks who think nothing of diving off paths and into borders to pet a petal, rub a leaf, or give a tree trunk a firm tap. Visitors who do this are a bit of a terror to garden owners who aren’t particularly tactile themselves but kindred spirits to those who view paths as a waste of valuable planting space. If you find yourself not minding, or even enjoying, paths that are more akin to obstacle courses than proper walkways–having to step over this, duck under that, and brush those aside to get through–you’re probably one of the please-touch folks.
Being able to physically interact with plants is pretty much the only thing I miss about gardening during the winter. But, it’s another reason to look forward to spring, and something I like to keep in mind when I plant my gardens and containers for another growing season. I have lots of favorites for gardening by feel, but I’ve tried to narrow it down to my top five. Continue reading 5 plus 1: Please-Touch Plants