Defending Bad Taste – GardenRant

I’m absolutely amazed by how many plants there are.

I know the plants in my garden well; I have paid for them and chose them above others. Yet every time I visit a garden or a nursery I see plants that are new to me. It’s rather wonderful.

I love this Narcissus ‘Ellen’ but don’t grow it myself

But I don’t yearn for every plant I see. I’ve written about a plant that I pretty much hate, but what about the huge gap between the plants I truly adore and couldn’t be without, and the single plant that I really, really don’t like?

It’s A Matter Of Taste

Some plants are similar to some that I grow already, others I like to see in other gardens but don’t want in my small garden, and there many plants that are just not to my taste.

Not sure what this is, but it’s not to my taste

And I mean that, they’re not to my taste.

An Important Distinction

Why do some feel the need to become arbiters of what is in good taste and what is not?

We must, in our gardens at least, be allowed to embrace the things that make us happy. It’s wrong to suppress joy under the leaden pall of garden taste.

Aucubas, ‘spotted laurels’, tend to polarise opinion

We all like what we like. A knee-jerk response to the plants that irk us is understandable, yet I cannot help but think that we must learn to temper our responses. Just because we would never consider allowing a plant to grow in our own garden doesn’t mean that the plant is ‘bad’ or worthy of scorn.

Some plants are just not to our taste.

Points Of View

The gardening world is littered with people who will tell you what to grow. Some of these people are kind folks who would like to draw your attention to a plant they think has great merit.

House plants can be hard enough to grow without complaining about their colours


Some gardeners seem to think that their personal tastes represent what is right and good in the world, and this is just not right.

I’ve had to learn how to distinguish between plants that are ‘bad’ and ones that I just don’t like. It’s sometimes difficult to have an objective view, but I think it’s important to at least be aware of our personal tastes when it comes to the plants that we encounter. If a plant is reliable, does what it is supposed to do really well, and makes a gardener happy, then by any sensible definition it is a ‘good’ plant.

I was told by wise old gardeners to hate Narcissus ;Jetfire’ for its orange trumpet, but I’m now wise enough to know that I love it

And so I might not be willing to give a plant room in my own garden, but by the grace of all that is good in the world I will defend your right to grow it in yours.