The Homeowners Column

The Homeowners Column

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You may be a serious gardener if

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Sandra Mason
State Master Gardener Coordinator
slmason@illinois.edu

I consider myself an avid gardener not a rabid gardener, but sometimes I question my rationality. Imagine one of those hectic spring days. A frenzy of activity dedicated to balancing responsibilities and resources. I did the math. I had to make a choice. 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 might be a serious gardener if:

· You gleefully anticipate the date to plant the potatoes more than the date of your own birth.

· You suffer from zone envy. No matter what winter hardiness zone you live in, you insist on growing plants from a warmer 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.

· On vacation your car is routed 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 frequently find seeds in your pockets. Trouble is you often can't remember where the seeds came from…and you plant them anyway.

· You quickly go from despair over a dead plant to glee over the prospect of buying a new one.

· You often wander your yard with a spade in one hand and plant in the other hand scanning for a glimmer of open space to shoehorn in one… more… plant.

· Your neighbors don't recognize your face because that's usually not the end they see.

· You hesitate when your spouse shouts 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 have space for just 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 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 includes the health of said waiting room plants.

· In winter you cultivate the mold in the refrigerator just to see something grow.

From one crazy gardener to another, let's spread the madness as we build community through gardening. In that endeavor, I am moving forward in my new position as Illinois State Master Gardener coordinator. Next week's News Gazette column will be my last. Be sure to check it out.

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