I allowed to myself to get riled on social media the other week. I normally let people’s opinions wash over me because they’re frankly like arseholes; everybody’s got one. In this instance, a gardening journalist made a sneering comment about some mass-produced, solar powered water features. Admittedly, the ones in the picture weren’t particularly my cup of tea but I wouldn’t be offended if they were yours and I definitely wouldn’t be upset enough by their appearance to proclaim how ghastly they were.
The fact is, nobody can tell you what you should and shouldn’t have in your indoor or outdoor space on the grounds of ‘taste’. Nobody has the right to judge you based on the plants you like, the colour of your fence, your collection of ceramic meerkats or your football club mascot gnome. The only thing you should worry about when you’re looking at the aesthetics of your outdoor or indoor space is whether or not it pleases you. I’m out of patience with good taste; good taste leads to flower show gardens that all look the same and gardening magazines where page after page looks like the same garden photographed from different angles.
The deeper you become immersed in the world of gardens the more you notice a definite snobbery towards certain plants and products. Professionals involved in the industry become scared to do anything that breaks from taste conventions lest their work be judged unfashionable, tasteless or gaudy. Unfortunately, good taste and good quality products are more often than not those that are at the more expensive end of the price spectrum. There’s a problem with equating good taste with cost: there is always a product that’s more expensive and just out of your price range no matter how big your budget, which leads to a sense of always falling short.
So stuff good taste and let’s get back to individuality. Don’t let anyone shame you into tasteful blandness or kid you their taste is better than yours, it’s just different. Now, I’m off out to install a row of spotted laurels flanked by two statues of golden lions I picked up in the pound shop…