Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening – Sort Of

When it comes to mastering the art of flower gardening, true mastery might come in NOT planting that flower.

Some days I feel like I’m mastering the art of flower gardening. Other days? Well, I do love them, but sometimes I feel like we would all be better off if I just dug them all up and stuck to vegetables. As much as gardening is a science, it’s also an art. And I think it’s fair to say that most gardeners have a day or two when they don’t feel much like an artist.

One way I’ve found to get over this hump is to go buy more flowers or seeds. Is that adding fuel to the fire? Hard to say. I just know it makes me happy. And truth be told, I enjoy buying new flowers and plants pretty much all the time. Admit it! You’ve been tempted by that rare orchid even though you know it will require 24 hour care! I know I have. Lucky for the orchid, I managed to resist the temptation.

Julie V. Foley, on the other hand, has a very hard time resisting the pull of buying new plants. In Oh, Help–Hydrangea, she shares her weakness for a beautiful new flower. “No, I thought, no, no. I have already surpassed my plant budget two times over this season. I will not buy another plant.”

For Julie, and sometimes for me, mastering the art of flower gardening means knowing when to stop. Was Julie successful? You’ll have to read this fun tale to find out!

Are You Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening? These Stories Will Help You Along.

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

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Oh, Help—Hydrangea!

A plant addict’s tale.

By Julie V. Foley

Yes, I admit it. I am an addict. I can’t seem to get past any plant with a For Sale sign on it. Yesterday…

I was on my way home from church and needed to stop at the market for a few essentials. How is it that we always need bread, milk, and eggs—it’s not like I make French toast every day. Anyway, as I approached the door to the market, there they were: hydrangeas arranged oh so beautifully to entice me. “You need me,” I could hear them call.

No, I thought, no, no. I have already surpassed my plant budget two times over this season. I will not buy another plant.

I passed Endless Summer in blue (lovely!) and Lace Caps in pink (charming!) and Limelight (such a refreshing green!). They tugged at my heart, but I resisted.

I entered the store and bought what I needed. Then, as I was returning to my car, I spotted Midnight Salsa. It was as though that hydrangea had a magnet in her flowers. I had to touch her blooms. Before I knew it, she was in my cart and I was paying the ransom at the register.

I wondered how I’d explain yet another new plant to Marty. Oh, he wants me to be happy, but lately I have been out of control with my plant purchases. I drove into our driveway, stopped long enough to sneak the plant onto the front porch, and then put the car away in the garage.

Marty greeted me in the kitchen and reached to put the milk and eggs in the fridge. He’s so happy to see groceries come into the house. I love plants; he loves food.

As I started to set the table for lunch, Marty passed through the room, dressed in his jeans and work shirt. “Are you going to tell me where you want that plant, or should I just dig the hole wherever there’s a space?” he said.

“Plant?” I asked. “What plant?”

“You know, the one you just put out on the porch. It’s a rose, isn’t it?”

“I’ll be right out,” I called, “just as soon as I change my clothes.”

I thank God for the blessing of a husband who understands my expensive obsession with plants (and all those deer repellent sprays!). He may not be able to tell a rose from a hydrangea—but he digs very good planting holes!

By Julie V. Foley, published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #105.

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Do you have a weakness for new flowers and plants?


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