Too legit to quit?
You can decide that for yourself after reading this post. Although you might not have enough information to reach a decision.
I began my gardening-for-food arrangement with Neighbor S today. This is S's beautiful wolfhound-shepherd mix.
And this is her garden which has gotten away from her, as you can see.
Gardening efforts began here in the mid-1980s. I'd say this is a 250 sq. ft. space--about half the size of my backyard.
There's a too-large pear tree, an espaliered apple tree distorted from planarity....
Two lilacs, at least one fuchsia, three or four abutilon (one variegated), comfrey...
a Brugmansia, various salvias, oxalis, Parietaria judaica, and other stuff including this fragrant, herbaceous thing--what is it?
(And, oh look, Japanese anenonme--she loves it and wants more.)
But what dominates the garden, and dominated today's gardening efforts: wild grape (on the right) and a huuuge old Rosa 'Mermaid' (center-ish):
The result is deep shade and extensive deadwood.
Mermaid's trunk is a good 4-5 inches in diameter.
I'm very excited about the sinuous old trunk of the wild grape vine.
You can't buy that kind of established effect--I'm excited about finding a way to feature this character more effectively.
Anyhow, with trusty loppers, hand pruners, and a hand-saw S loaned me because I don't own one, I filled two big bags of dead rosewood. What I really needed for this job was safety glasses to keep all the falling plant litter out of my eyes while I pruned overhead.
S loves her roses and she has a lot of them. And those roses have a lot of crossed wood.
I feel comfortable (i.e., competent) about pruning this kind of stuff out and getting some better structure in here. But I also know doing what has to be done will create some dramatic changes in her garden that she might find surprising. I want her to trust me, so I tell her exactly what I want to do and ask her to think about it for now.
Knowing the names of most of her plants during the walkthrough helped instill some confidence and I think demonstrating that I can distinguish living wood from dead wood did too.
I do not think this garden has strong bones. But there are some strong elements: the fruit trees, 'Mermaid', the grape, several othe roses. Also, the fence and various trellises seem to be in great shape considering.
I think most of the other plants are subject to transplanting (or expendable). But there's still lots of pruning to be done before decisions like that get made.
S sent me home after two hours with delicious rice and chicken I should have photographed but didn't think to until it was too late. Next time.