The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

You may be a serious gardener if...

Photo of Sandra Mason

Sandra Mason
Extension Educator, Horticulture
slmason@illinois.edu

I've always considered myself an avid gardener not a rabid gardener, but this past year I may have crossed the line. Ok, it was a busily hectic spring day. I did the math. I had to make a choice. I figured I had enough time to either grocery shop or plant shop. As I headed down the aisles of beautiful bountiful blooms, I was pretty sure there was a can of soup in the cupboard. A little mold on cheese gives it character, right?

Gardeners may slide into insanity at times, but at least we get there holding hands. A few years ago I started a list of the signs of the serious (perhaps slightly deranged) gardener. You know you are a serious gardener when:

  • You gleefully anticipate the day to plant the potatoes more than the day of your own birth.
  • You suffer from zone envy. No matter what winter hardiness zone you live in, you will insist on growing plants from the next warmest zone.
  • You're running out of places to garden, but the neighbor's yard looks promising.
  • You're running out of places to garden, but the street median looks promising.
  • 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 than photos of the kids.
  • Your children have names like Hyacinth, Iris, Flora Bunda, Lon Moore, and Phil O'Dendron.
  • In winter you start cultivating the mold in the refrigerator just to see something grow.
  • On vacation your car is programmed to arrive at 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 seems 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 pocket. Trouble is you often can't remember where the seeds came from.
  • You quickly go from despair over a dead plant to glee over the opportunity to buy 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 you want to be companion planted 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 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 use your cell phone voice mail.
  • While you're 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.

From one crazy gardener to another, Happy New Year.

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