Having let the idea of victory gardens as folk art sink in further to my grey matter, I’ve come up with the realization that not all gardens would fit that definition.
So, here are the two main criteria:
• The garden must be given the “victory garden” name by the gardener. Of course, if someone wants to call it kitchen garden, potager, etc. and still meet the criteria below, then they’d still likely be folk art, too–just not victory gardens as folk art. The choice of the name suggest a conscious desire to engage with a particular history, in this case American garden history over the last century.
• The garden must be suited to the micro-climate and climate. In other words, rather than being a formulaic bed (or beds) laid out precisely in keeping with the suggestion of someone else (a landscape designer, garden book author, extension agent), the garden must reflect the gardener’s conscientious choice to grow food in harmony with the particular site. Now, the garden may not begin this way–first-timers like formulas, but over-time and with practice, the garden should become more reflective of place. This evolution suggests a unique (and hopefully fruitful) dialogue is taking place between gardener and environment.