As the summer grows on, the gardener may begin to suspect that her (or his) playground may never achieve that “perfect look”. I have decided that Mother Nature never intended her world to be perfect so that the gardener will always have something to do in her (or his) free time.

As long as we understand this, we can relax and just go with the flow and not obsess over perfection. Accepting this frees us to pursue other areas of interest: such as collecting pots, flower arranging, growing indoor succulents, or perhaps designing terrariums.

There is a name for this condition. It is called Wabi Sabi. And just what does this mean? It seems to be an old and elusive concept. I have written about this before, each time finding different definitions and this makes it even more intriguing. One explanation for Wabi may mean austere or simplicity. Sabi has been described as meaning old or rusted or perhaps faded by time. Another source tells us to find pleasure in unexpected places.

I am trying to tie this concept of celebrating imperfection in my own garden which some may call a hodgepodge of misplaced plantings, but I now prefer to call it my Wabi Sabi garden. Look for the wabi sabi effect in your own garden even if you think it may not be perfect. Do what you can and all will be well. Enjoy it as it is. It is your garden. Embrace it!

Wabi Sabi …… Nothing lasts Nothing is finished Nothing is perfect.

Nancy Riebe is a master gardener and master composter from Belgrade whose columns appear weekly throughout the growing season. Reach her in care of