Thoreau’s Perverse Back Yard

Henry David Thoreau, the philosophical leader of our Saunters and the spiritual patron of woodsy wanderers everywhere, had definite ideas about landscape design. In Walking he vigorously advocates for wildly native neighborhoods right in town:

“Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a Dismal Swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp.” 

He would even prefer to have his house in the middle of that wild thicket:

“I often think that I should like to have my house front on this mass of dull red bushes, omitting other flower pots and borders, transplanted spruce and trim box, even graveled walks – to have this fertile spot under my windows… 

Many of us share in this native plant perversity so we might as well embrace it, celebrate it! We will do just that on our next and final Saunter of the summer. We will share ideas on how to plant native plant communities in our yards and seek out wild and lovely trees and shrubs that would make Henry David envious. For me, I want to visit gooseberry, wolfberry, bladdernut, toothache-tree, bee-tree, mossy cup, dogwood, coffee-tree, shadblow, and many others with fanciful names and wild dispositions. This is the ecosystem that sustains us and that we should welcome into our lives and homes.

Saturday, August 2nd at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek Iowa, 7:30 to 10:00am. See previous posts below for more details. And please let me know if you can come.

Saunter on,

Jack