Boffo berries and borage
We can all agree that maintaining your own urban herb and vegetable garden is tres hipstère, particularly where you use your garden to grow unique foods for hosting elaborate dinner parties where each course features something that has to be introduced with, “You can’t get this at the store.” However, I have heard that gardens can be used to grow other things, specifically, flowers. I think it’s kind of weird that I never hear about hipsters growing flowers. What did flowers ever do to hipsters to deserve second-class citizen status compared to herbs and vegetables?
OMG. Plants. So hot right now. Quarantine life has us all relentlessly greenhousing our homes; putting potted plants on every surface in the far-fetched hope that indoor greenery will purify the stale air we’ve been breathing and rebreathing as we gradually forget what it’s like to put on real pants and leave the house, or put on pants at all.
There are so many ways for hipsters to love plants. You’ve already identified the aspiring urban farmer who lovingly tends her crop of lovage, borage, and cardoons in anticipation of preparing obscure recipes that have been floating around the blogosphere ever since some studious hipster unearthed a 19th-century cookbook from a dusty corner of his local bookstore. I remember hipster dinner parties. Humblebragging about your ability to cook borage is one thing that definitely doesn’t work on Zoom.
But while we’re on the subject of hipster horticulturalists, let’s not leave out the minimalist interior decorating hipster who has the perfect arrangement of succulents — its always succulents — to complement each and every room done up in varying shades of white. And how about the weed-growing hipster who deploys a unique brand of amateur science to clone and hybridize new strains of his drug of choice (all of which receive stupid names like “Obama Kush”)? You even might call that one guy with the collection of carnivorous plants a very particular kind of hipster in a category of one.
But whither the peaceful hipster flower gardener, lovingly aerating a raised bed of hybrid tea roses, or patiently deadheading a beloved geranium? When you picture that level of gardening, does your mind conjure up an image of a sweet little old lady named Myrtle who might invite you in for tea (and perhaps some of those “Royal Dansk” shortbread cookies in the blue tin)? Or perhaps you get an image of a grizzled veteran who has seen enough of war and destruction, such that he now prefers to tend his flower garden in peace, nurturing life in an otherwise savage world. Maybe you envision the wholesome, Midwestern, 4-H kid nurturing a crop of posies for the county fair. None of these eminently plausible visions fits anybody’s definition of a typical hipster, but there you have it. I suspect the explanation has something to do with how growing flowers is an activity both solitary and evanescent, neither of which qualities has a ton of appeal to social creatures such as hipsters.
Of course, now that I’ve said it, this probably opens up a door for a renaissance of hipster flower gardening. Next thing you know, we’ll see a hashtag trend for Instagram gardeners posting up their best Chrysler Imperial blooms. A handful of affable misfits will no doubt show up to the party expecting pink wine, and we’ll all have a laugh over it.