What is it about gardeners?
What is about gardeners that they’ll wait for years for the perfect bloom on a special plant, and never question the time, attention, and space they give that plant for all those years?
What is it about gardeners that they’ll go out in the fall and take their neighbors’ bagged leaves in the early dawn hours so they can use those leaves for compost in their own garden?
What is it about gardeners that they can be perfect strangers one minute, and then upon realizing they are in the company of other gardeners, talk at an alarming pace about dirt, bugs, compost, flowers, seeds… gardening… as though they have known one another for years?
What is it about gardeners that they can rattle off the botanical name of a prized plant, but not remember the last name of the non-gardeners down the street?
What is it about gardeners that they’ll name their gardens?
I’m not sure what it is, but I recognize gardeners when I see them, by these traits and other clues.
And I’ve been reading the June-July selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, People with Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening by Robin Chotzinoff for further insight.
Robin travels around the United States talking to a variety of gardeners, some smitten with a particular type of flower, others in love with ‘playing in the dirt’, all getting their hands dirty.
Some garden for themselves and some garden for others.
And they all seem not to be able to help themselves. I’m nearly finished with the book, a good read, and just keep thinking about those questions… “what is it about gardeners”.
I’ve also read the alternate choices at various times. These books include
Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening by Aurelia Scott
Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen
Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Susan Warren
These books are about gardeners who are ‘smitten’ by a particular plant, and overtaken by a spirit of competitiveness to grow the perfect rose or orchid or the biggest pumpkin.
What is it about these gardeners that they will give up virtually any other ‘life’ in their quest?
Maybe I’m too close to gardening myself to see the answer to “what is it about these gardeners”? Maybe my hands are too dirty from my own gardening?
Whatever the answers, I enjoyed reading all of these books at one time or another, reading the stories of other gardeners and thinking about some of the gardeners I know who could be included in books like these.
And reading about some of these gardeners, I feel just a tiny bit like them, like I understand them... just a tiny bit.
If you’ve been thinking about joining in the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, this is the perfect time to do so, with so many ways to do it.
It’s easy to participate. Read one of these books and write about it or write about a passionate gardener you know and post it on your blog. You have just a few days to do so before I publish a virtual “club meeting post” on July 31st with links to everyone who participated.
Just let me know when you have posted, and I’ll pick up a link to your post to include you.
Questions, comments, or suggestions? Leave a comment or send me an email. All are welcome to participate!