The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

Signs of a Serious Gardener

Photo of Sandra Mason

Sandra Mason
Extension Educator, Horticulture
slmason@illinois.edu

"There is a fine line between gardening and madness."

Those who live with us maddening gardeners would probably agree with that statement. I shudder at the image of how mad we would be if we didn't have gardening. Of course, the character that made the above statement was at the time envisioning if his turnips would look even more like Meryl Streep if they were adorned with a nice string of pearls.

I don't know too many gardeners that dress up their vegetables, however a couple of years ago I started a list of the signs of the serious gardener. Through numerous observations and suggestions from other gardeners, here is the continuing list.

You know you are a serious gardener when:

  • You can remember the date to plant the potatoes better than you can remember your own birthday.
  • You suffer from zone envy. No matter what winter hardiness zone you live in, you wished you could grow plants in the next warmest zone.
  • You're running out of places to garden, but under your fingernails looks promising.
  • You don't hesitate to book an extra moving van just to move your plants.
  • You would rather share your toothbrush than your hand pruners.
  • You carry more photos of your garden in your wallet than photos of the kids.
  • In the middle of winter you start cultivating the mold in the refrigerator just to see something grow.
  • On vacation your car automatically turns into every garden center and botanic garden along the way.
  • You know far too much about manure and you insist on sharing that information with your friends during dinner parties.
  • You never have dinner before sunset during the summer.
  • You delight in the harvest of the first carrot. The $25 and 20 hours of work to produce it seems irrelevant.
  • Your neighbors don't recognize your face because that's usually not the end they see.
  • You hesitate when your spouse says there's not enough room in the house for both her/him and the houseplants.
  • Your houseguests are afraid to stay in the guest bedroom because the philodendron looks hungry.
  • In your will it states your final resting place will be a companion planting with your spouse in the garden.
  • You insist on saving all 225 tomato seedlings even though you only need 6.
  • Your hands have furrows deep enough to plant bean seeds.
  • You have to kill a certain plant at least three times before it occurs to you that maybe you should quit trying.
  • You know exactly how to run the leaf shredder, but you haven't quite figured out how to get the VCR clock to quit flashing.
  • Your idea of winter fun is sticking your hand in the compost pile to feel if it's hot.
  • While you are waiting in the doctor's office, you find yourself removing dead leaves from the houseplants.
  • Your criteria for a quality doctor include the health of the waiting room plants.
  • Your children have names like Hyacinth, Iris, Flora Bunda, Lon Moore, and Phil O'Dendron.

The above signs apply to you but it doesn't cause you to run screaming into traffic, then you know you are a seriously mad gardener.

Starting in September, University of Illinois Extension will be offering a statewide fall gardening TeleNet series. Within the TeleNet program instructors are in a remote location while slides are shown locally as the instructor speaks.

Spring Flowering Bulbs for the Home Landscape Spring bulbs are an important addition to any landscape or garden. Ron Cornwell, Horticulture Educator will be the instructor for this Telenet program on Tuesday September 17 at 7:00 p.m. and repeated Thursday Sept 19 at 1:30 p.m.

There is no cost but please register to receive handouts. Call 217-333-7672.

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