Death of the Home Garden…and Why YOU Murdered It

As the fingerprint dusting concludes and the last shards of evidence are zip-locked for forensics, the investigation has already put out an APB for your arrest. The crime: the willful murder of the home garden.


More than a century has been spent creating this paradisaical wonderment and yet less than a decade has ruined it forever. The home garden, a retreat from the bustling world that sucks our creativity and enthusiasm for life, has been tainted and blemished beyond recognition. Even dental records and DNA testing would fail to identify its past glory.


Greed. Pure, evil, insatiable greed. You stopped paying for quality and chose convenience over uniqueness. Taking risks on plants where life hung in the balance was swapped for guaranteed PBR (Plant Breeder’s Rights) manipulations…plants that had been bred to grow regardless of whether you watered, fertilised or nurtured it. And your neighbours bought the same plants.


Mass-production. Economies of scale dictate the new world order and home gardens lack the power required to demand this weapon be cast down. Especially when one considers the motive. For some unknown reason, we would much prefer a store that stocks 2 million of the same friggin’ plant than one which prides itself on introducing a new species, sport or natural manifestation. These are all a little too risky.


Sole operator nurseries and garden centres. When I moved to this region 13 years ago we proudly supported all 5 of our local nurseries. Today, none of them exist but instead they have been replaced by two big-box outlets selling the same crap plants that will still be there in 12 months time. And these two operators buy predominantly from the one large plant breeder – so you can grasp the level of uniqueness and originality that confronts the average gardener when they frequent these stores.


Your neighbours. Gardening shows. Garden related magazines. They all played their part. Take a drive through the ‘burbs and the picture doesn’t deviate much. The once glorious home garden is now a shadow of its former self. Postage stamp lawns, drought-tolerant flax borders and a gaudy water-feature are now the limit of our garden expression. We now compete on lawn-type, flax colours and the price tag of that hideous sculpture.

Sadly, I’m not sure a resurrection is possible. I think gardeners have bought into the consumption mentality and the days of sharing plants, swapping seeds and dividing perennials will be confined to the radical fundamentalists. The home garden, as an ideal, is dead…and we’ve all played a part in its demise.

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