Writing in the 1st century AD, Seneca makes a good case for common sense limits:
Is it not living unnaturally to hanker after roses during the winter, and to force lilies in midwinter by taking the requisite steps to change their environment and keeping up the temperature with hot water heating? Is it not living unnaturally to plant orchards on top of towers, or to have a forest of trees waving in the wind on the roofs and ridges of one’s mansions, their roots springing at a height which it could have been presumptuous for their crests to reach?
-Letter CXXII from Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)
Apparently the Romans had a thing for ridiculous, energy intensive vertical gardening schemes. Perhaps it’s what happens as empires trend towards the decadent and live beyond their means. It’s hard not to see modern parallels. Witness what happened when an upscale hair salon planted a vertical garden on a south facing wall in Los Angeles.
I’ve come to much the same conclusions about the garden surrounding our own household. Growing blueberries in Southern California? I’ve done it, but who wants the extra effort to secure acidic soil and tend a potted plant? Maybe it’s better to grow pomegranates here instead. They thrive in terrible soil with not much water.
I could thoughtstyle on about this but, as usual, Archdruid John Michael Greer beat me to it with a thought provoking interview on the C-Realm podcast about the creativity of living within limits. Have a listen and, on a similar theme, check out my new, most favorite, blog, Low-Tech Magazine.