We are constantly threatened with globalization. Whether it is through the media, politics, or at your not-so-local neighborhood grocery store. While this may not bother some people and though many of its outcomes are beneficial, I find that too often I feel overwhelmed by everything from elsewhere. I also start feeling a loss of identity. Have you ever wondered, 'Who am I and where do I fit in this huge world?'
I have found that the best cure for this potential paranoia is to go out and garden. Gardening gives you a direct sense of place because you are working with that place. You get to make things that are unique because of the specific temperatures, soils, light, and nutrients of that area.
A peach that is grown in my father-in-law's place in Utah County tastes different from one grown in Georgia (the Utah peach is better, by the way). You can't grow a blueberry in Utah for any length of time. A banana tree might be coaxed to grow outside in a Minnesota summer, but it will not produce fruit without lots of protection.
Even if I were to plant an alpine fir from the mountains overlooking my home right next to my back window where it is in direct line of sight of its home, it would die in a few short seasons.
This dedication to area specifics I like to call the Last Frontier of Regionallity. While engineers, architects, and politicians are busy trying for universal one-size-fits-all, the good gardener is trying to find something that fits his location.
If he is a good gardener he will create a connection with the land. He will know what he can and can't do, what he should or shouldn't do. This understanding will make his design totally different from any other garden. It will even be different than one around the same cookie cutter house next door.
Personal, identifiable, local. The Final Frontier, right here at home.