Sustain the Gardeners

Yesterday I went to Springdale/Fayetteville Arkansas to hear Gerald Klingaman speak. The title of his talk was The Quest for a Sustainable Garden. (After 31 years as professor of horticulture, he now is the volunteer exec director of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.)

When presenting his basic premise, Klingaman referred to his 80-20 rule for sustainable gardening: 80% of the garden should be plants that can take care of themselves for the most part, leaving the other 20% for your pet plants that are higher maintenance.

I couldn't help but think that if one had a garden well established with those 80% plants, one could take a year off of gardening altogether. Maybe one could spend a year traveling and reading instead of being a servant to one's garden. Hmmmm.

Back when I taught management and quality classes, we called that the Pareto Principle. For example 80% of problems come from 20% of customers, 80% of profit comes from 20% of products, and 80% of productivity comes from 20% of your time at work. And, in economics, 80% of property is owned by 20% of the people.


If 80% of my garden is supposed to be relatively work free, only 20% of my garden should be demanding large blocks of my time.

I think I'm doing something wrong.


Misty said…
Your post was humorous. I am also a gardener and a business professional. If find that business concepts can't really applied to gardening. My high maintenance comes from controlling weeds and I'm pretty sure that it takes up more than 20% of my gardening time.
Molly Day said…
If you add together weeding, hose dragging, seed starting and bug stalking, you are up to 3 hours a day.
Planting, dividing, deadheading, planning and seed starting are additional.

No wonder gardening is mostly for the retired!
joel said…
Sounds like an interesting talk. I aspire to have an 80% garden, but I can't say that it honestly works out that way -at least not june-sept.
Molly Day said…
Klingaman's talk opened a window for me because I often complain about too much work June to Sept as the fruit comes in, the vegetables over produce and the bugs multiply.

But then, every August I have a similar conversations with myself and hubby. In the spring everything seems possible again after a winter rest.

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