shave and a haircut

Slate had an amusing article yesterday about the atrocities committed by amateur gardeners. Be sure to check out the slide show. Some quick highlights:

The owner of this sad plant prunes off the top each year, taking a page from a developer’s handbook to suburban landscaping, which says that all plants, regardless of their natural growing patterns, should look like gumdrops.

This technique, called espalier, takes a lot of pruning, so don’t buy an espaliered pyracantha if you’re not going to keep up with it. When you lose interest and quit pruning, the plant winds up looking ghoulish, like a tree hung with concertina wire for the holidays, à la the example on the right.

I have been reading a bit about gardening in general. I bought a copy of Square Foot Gardening, which is quite interesting. The primary obstacles to my foray into gardening, however, are: time (of course), land and sunlight. I rent, so I don’t own the land, and there’s not much sunlight in our yard to be had, anyway. Oh well.