Why Type of Gardener Are You?

Until now, you might have considered yourself a regular gardener, but today's piece shows you what type of gardener you really are.

One day you’re fertilizing a few tomato plants, and the next thing you know, you’re the type of gardener where an eighteen-wheeler is unloading 50 yards of compost for a 3,000-square-foot cutting garden.

Can you relate?

I never thought I’d be a flower gardener. If you’ve been reading these daily posts for a little while, you know that my roots are in edible gardens, and I only branched into flower gardening for the edible flowers. In fact, the home we moved into had prolific flower gardens, and I planned to tear them all out to make way for food.

One Summer before the flower apocalypse, we were away and/or sick most of the summer, and those flower beds didn’t get weeded. They turned into weed farms. This actually made me hate them more, and more set on pulling out every last one of them. I’d either plant some new raised beds for veggies, or I’d level the place and put in grass.

Then one year, at random, and very nonchalantly, I decided maybe I’d lean into the chaos of these enormous flower gardens and just start building up a ridiculous amount of perennials. It would be silly, but maybe it would crowd out the weeds and let me live a little. So every year, I would add more. Each year I’d notice when a few weeks went pale, and I’d run to the garden center trying to find a perennial that was blooming at that exact moment in hopes I’d be able to make a garden that bloomed constantly.

I didn’t intend to keep this garden, I just wasn’t that type of gardener, I thought. I never dug proper holes or fertilized, or checked if they were planted in a good spot, because I didn’t think I was really keeping this flower garden, I was just doing it to bide my time until I could dig it up properly.

After many years of this, when I decided to put a stone path through what used to be my “bulldoze it” zone, I realized I was now a flower gardener. As I watched my husband carve a door in the Japanese Maple tree for my daughter to use as a fort, and we placed down stone after stone through the gardens so she and her friends could frolic among the Butterfly Bushes and Nippon Daisies, I realized this flower garden was now a joy, and it’s not going anywhere. I planted 8 fruit trees among the flowers last year for good measure, but I’ve become quite happy to share the space.

In today’s story, “The Obsessed Gardener” there’s a fun little quiz to let you know if you’re a normal gardener, or an “obsessed” gardener. This one cracked me up: Normal gardener: You would never kill a ladybug. Obsessed gardener: You bring them inside for the Winter.

I hope you enjoy today’s piece as much as I did!

Enjoy More Gardening Humor

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of gardening humor into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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The Obsessed Gardener

Are you one? Take the test.

By Chris Woods
drawing of person in the garden

It’s hard for me to say exactly when gardening stopped being just a healthy pastime and became an all-consuming passion. One day I’m fertilizing a few tomato plants, and the next thing I know, an eighteen-wheeler is unloading 50 yards of compost for a 3,000- square-foot cutting garden.

How can you tell if you’re a normal, healthy gardener or have crossed the line into dangerous territory? Easy, take this quiz!

Normal Gardener

Obsessed Gardener

You won’t leave town when your tulips are in bloom.

… or your daffodils, your lilacs, your wisteria, your roses, your clematis, your lilies, your hydrangea, your asters …

You have a charge account at the local garden center.

Your spouse buys all your Christmas presents there.

You invest in fine gardening tools.

You keep spare tools in your car for gardening emergencies.

You value all living things, great and small.

You cheered when Bambi’s mother died.

You value all living things, great and small.

You cheered when Bambi’s mother died.

You have a compost heap.

You take its temperature every day.

You can’t believe you ordered so many bulbs this fall.

It wasn’t enough.

You know the Latin names of your plants.

You use them in conversations … with the plants.

You love to grow and cook your own vegetables.

Cook? Who has time to cook?

You are proud of your baby carrots.

You carry pictures of them in your wallet.

You can crush a Japanese beetle in your bare fingertips.

You love the sound it makes when you do.

You would never kill a ladybug.

You bring them inside for the winter.

You have dirt under your fingernails.

What fingernails?

You know the pH of your soil.

All your friends know the pH of your soil.

You’ve had a soil test.

You studied for it.

You buy composted cow manure to top dress your garden.

You buy a cow.

You think Eliot Coleman is cute.

You think Roger Swain is cute.

You know the virtues of hand weeding.

… after dark.

You teach your children the wonders of gardening.

Children? Who has time to have children?

You love gardening more than anything.

“And what’s wrong with that?!”

By Chris Woods, published originally in GreenPrints Weeder’s Reader.

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Does this story remind you of one of your own? Leave a comment and share it with us!

  • Lisa A.

    Most of your readers are obsessed gardeners. Who hasn’t succumbed to planting too early only to have a frost in the forecast and you find every spare curtain, blanket whatever and your front yard becomes a patchwork quilt for all to view on their morning commute?


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