The Black-Eyed Susan to the Rose


Jacki Kellum Garden

I have a very distinctive taste in gardening–it is a bit like me. My garden is loud–in a prayerful sort of way. The colors in my garden clamor for attention and as they call, they challenge each other.

Early in the summer, I noted that I was having a particularly pink and purple sort of year.

Petunia, Flower, Blossom, Bloom, Pink, Flowers

Persnickety pink petunias
Piled in purple planters
Billowing blossoms bulged
From side to side. – ©Jacki Kellum

Flower, Floral, Golden, Daisy, Black-Eyed-Susan, Yellow

But I have a lot of yellow in my garden, too. Among other things, I have yellow daylilies and I have the golden and smiley-faced Black-Eyed Susans.


Jacki Kellum Garden

Purple is a complement of yellow and it frames the yellows of my garden, allowing the yellows to shout. I am like a yellow Black-Eyed Susan. In many ways, I am wild and free, and if I had my way, I’d grow along an old, dusty farm road or in a forest clearing. I’d simply grow where I wanted and without any gardener at all.

I write more about being a Black-Eyed Susan Here.

Because I can’t bloom where I want to bloom now, my New Jersey garden is a Black-Eyed Susan affair. My problem is that my neighbor fancies herself as an aristocrat. While I prefer the carefree and hodgepodge look of a cottage garden, my neighbor wants absolute control and she fastidiously clips her shrubs until they look like poodles’ tails. Needless to say, my neighbor hates my garden, a place where daisies polka-dot the dirt and where foxgloves erratically spring from the ground. In my garden, wild roses rule the roost and not the uptight hybrid tea. My hollyhocks hover all around.

Before this year, I had only planted the flat, single, opened, and old-fashioned hollyhocks that are like the ones that my grandmother used to plant. I love that my garden is simple and colorful and grounded in ruralness. That is also the way that I love myself. But my openness and my relaxed lifestyle are an affront to my neighbor, who does everything she can to seem to be closer to perfect than she is.

My neighbor and I are oil and water. She does not seem to realize that I hate her poodle tail bushes as much as she detests my garden’s lack of control. That seems to be the story of my life. I have always been the lonely little petunia in the orchid house, and if  If I didn’t like being a Black-eyed Susan, I might agree to sacrifice my lawn and to become a pawn in my neighbor’s game. But that isn’t going to happen. I prefer to simply hang loose.


I ask you: “Why can’t everyone garden on their own sides of the gate?” I’m fine with that, but my neighbor is like a rat terrier. She cannot let my garden go. I am continuously perplexed by the people who feel that they have all of the right answers. In gardening, these are the control freaks who feel that they have the authority to pick the plants for their own gardens and to weed them the way that they see fit and yet, they are deluded by the fantasy that they can weed other peoples’ gardens, too. In other words, in a control freak’s mind, we other people do not have the right and the authority to plant our lawns in the ways that we see fit.

I’m really not like that. If my neighbor wants to grow golf course grass and prune out every sign of freedom in her yard, that is fine, but she isn’t allowed to butcher my yard, too. And that has become my philosophy for life.

Prune your own garden and allow me to do the same.

Oh well, last October, one garden season ended and in spring, another season began. In spite of my neighbor’s protests, I continue to allow my lawn to bloom where it wants to grow. You see, my garden is a testament to my efforts to remain unencumbered, and my garden is the way that I like it–honest, simple, a little unkempt, a whole lot out there, and easy. I cannot grow a garden of poodle tails and allow my Black-Eyed Susans to feel at home, too. Something had to be sacrificed. I sacrificed the approval of my neighbor, and it doesn’t bother me at all.


“Don’t Come into my garden,” said the Black-Eyed Susan to the Hybrid Tea.


Ahhh–Natural–That’s the garden for me.

©Jacki Kellum July 30, 2016


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s