A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm a Gardener!

Carol over at May Dreams Gardens is at it again. This time her survey is all about gardeners. Specifically, "What makes a gardener"? Here are my answers:

Do you consider yourself a gardener? How did you decide you were a gardener? I most definitely consider myself a gardener. And not because I am particularly skilled at it. It's more of a mindset. A way of life. I breathe, therefore I garden type of thing.

When is the first time you referred to yourself as a gardener? Where and how did you learn to be a gardener? I honestly can't remember the first time I referred to myself as a gardener. I was raised by a (flower) gardener. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. My mother gardened at every single house, whether owned or rented. I don't remember how old I was, just that I was in elementary school, when she gave me a corner of one of her beds and some packets of flower seeds. I lovingly planted and cared for those seeds and was so thrilled when they grew and bloomed. I was hooked and had to have a garden no matter where I have lived.

Has anyone ever introduced you to someone else as a gardener? All the time, especially since I took the Master Gardener course.

When someone tells you they are a gardener, what image of them does it bring to mind? What do you expect of them? I always imagine them looking a lot like I do when I garden, dressed in old, comfy clothes, covered with dirt and sweat with a trowel in their hand. I always expect them to regale me with all of their gardening woes: weeds, slugs, rabbits, deer, squirrels, groundhogs. Only after they have that off their chests will they tell me about the wonderful plants they are growing. The discussion will last for hours.

Can a gardener live where there is no place to plant anything and still remain a gardener? Been there, done that. It's called living in a tiny apartment in a city. Mine were always filled with houseplants. I had the gardening bug so badly at the last apartment I lived in before I married that I had (illegal) planters filled with flowers on the fire escape! I've lived in aprtments with so little natural light that I had to grow houseplants under gro lights. I've designed and maintained terrariums for friends with reptiles. Now at Rutgers Gardens, I've learned that some of the volunteers who participate in the Adopt-A-Plot program do so because they have no place to garden at home.

What about horticulturalists? Are they a "subset" of gardeners or a whole different group? Hey! Some of my best friends are horticulturalists! (Hi, Marianne! Thanks for your advice on taking cuttings of hoyas.) My definition of "gardener" is broad enough that it includes anyone who knows/loves indoor/outdoor plants.

Does every gardener just naturally want a greenhouse? Egads, no! Most of the gardeners that I know that actually labor in greenhouses definitely DO NOT want one because they know how much work is involved in maintaining a greenhouse.

I hope Carol does a survey on composting. I love compost. I have a lot to say about compost.


At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful answers. You are indeed a gardener, especially since you were "illegal" with some plants for awhile. ;-)

I am planning on questions about composting and soil tied in with the Garden Bloggers' Book Club, since we should all be reading either the book or something related this month.

(And, before I forget, thanks for the extra plugs for the book club on Garden Voices!)

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

"I breathe, therefore I garden..."

That about sums it up :-) Great post. We've both been through the "dark apartment" trenches, it seems. If you can garden through that, you're definitely a gardener!

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Tim said...

Yep - you are definately a gardener. Anyone who can cay 'I love compost' is a gardener in my eyes!

At 7:27 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Carol, you're welcome! I love the sense of community that is being created on Garden Voices and try to do my part to foster it.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Salix Tree said...

I quite enjoyed reading this post! I too had illegal plants on a fire escape, and roof of my NYC apartment! If someone loves gardening, nothing can stop them!

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Thanks for posting this, the answers were wonderfully insightful. You are most certainly a gardener in every sense of the word. Hey and thanks for sticking up for professionals. A lot of us are in the business because we get to work with plants everyday. It certainly isn't the money ;-)


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