The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

What kind of gardener are you?

Photo of Sandra Mason

Sandra Mason
Extension Educator, Horticulture
slmason@illinois.edu

Organic Gardening Magazine several years ago attempted to categorize gardeners; just how hot-wired are people to gardening.

The categories Organic Gardening devised relied mainly on the number of hours people spent on gardening. From the least hours to the most hours the categories were: Dabblers, Decorators, Cultivators and Masters.

To me gardening is a state mind. A gardener is still a gardener no matter if the garden is a container of tomatoes on the patio or an acre of garden in the back yard. It's all in how you feel when you tend to your plants. Several years ago I started a list of the signs of the serious gardener. Do any of these apply to you?

  • You can remember the date to plant the potatoes better than you can remember your own birthday.
  • You suffer from zonal envy. No matter what winter hardiness zone you live in, you insist on growing plants from 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.
  • Your car's GPS automatically searches for every garden center and botanic garden along the way.
  • Instead of throwing out the sprouting potatoes in your vegetable bin, you plant them.
  • 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 is irrelevant.
  • You wonder if your weirdly shaped potatoes look more like Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster.
  • It's common for you to find seeds in your pockets as you prepare your laundry for washing. Trouble is you often can't remember where the seeds came from.
  • You quickly go from despair over a dead plant to glee over buying a new one.
  • 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.
  • A new chipper/shredder as a wedding anniversary gift is not considered immediate grounds for divorce.
  • 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 retain furrows deep enough to plant bean seeds.
  • You have to kill a certain plant at least three times in three different places 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 DVD 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 criterion for a quality doctor includes the health of their waiting room plants.
  • Your children have names like Hyacinth, Iris, Flora Bunda, Lon Moore, and Phil O'Dendron.

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