Plant Ideas

If you would plant for days, plant flowers.
If you would plant for years, plant trees,
If you would plant for eternity, plant ideas.

What ideas have changed the gardening world forever? What’s the next big idea that will change the gardening world for eternity?

If you think about how we garden today, is it really all that much different from how our grandparents gardened, or how their parents gardened?

A hoe is still a hoe, and you need a good shovel, and something to prune with. We have countless new varieties of plants, but yet many of us seek out heirloom varieties to grow what our grandparents grew. For many, gardening has not changed that much from generation to generation.

(Okay, some would contend that I am the last person who should write that a hoe is still a hoe, since I’ve managed to acquire quite a few different hoes. But, essentially, all hoes have a similar design, and you use them in the same way. That’s what I mean by “a hoe is still a hoe”. I still think it is perfectly acceptable to own more than one hoe!)

So what ideas have changed gardening? In no particular order, here are some ideas I would put on the list.

The science of genetics. Where would we be if Gregor Mendel had not developed the theories of heredity, the science of genetics?

Felco pruners. I think most of us who own a pair of Felco pruners would agree that whoever came up with the idea and design for these was an absolute genius.

Purple Wave petunias. I know today many gardeners don’t plant Wave petunias because they are too common. But I remember when these hit the garden centers. They changed the petunia market forever.

Pesticides. This may not be a popular idea amongst some gardeners, but the idea that we can develop chemicals to kill off weeds, insects, and diseases has certainly had an impact on gardening.

Organic Gardening. This is the opposite idea from the chemicals, that without chemicals, using other methods, we can create a healthier environment overall for our gardens to grow in and still not lose the whole thing to weeds, insects or diseases.

Genetic Engineering. Will this change how we garden? Will gardeners seek out genetically modified plants? Is that a good use of this type of technology? Who will plant a blue rose, created by manipulating a plant's genetic material?

What ideas would you add to the list? What is the next big idea for gardening?


  1. Well, Carol, I don't know about the blue rose. I know they strive for a yellow impatien, too. One thing I am darn sure of-
    Bears in Miami, BABY!!!
    If you say the Colts are going, that's fine, we don't care who we beat once we get there!!

    I did have a rose named Outta the Blue. It smelled heavenly but struggled and didn't do as well as my other roses so I shovel pruned it!

  2. This is an idea about an idea - maybe something is already changing the way some of us garden - using digital cameras.
    When you no longer wait for and squint at a 4 X 6 print but take photos that are immediately visible and amazingly expandable on your computer screen, it changes the way you see the garden - the details, for sure, but you also notice the shapes, relative sizes, what's in the background, the relationships of color, and the progression of growth.
    And when you crop your photos, you also think about what you want to block or crop out in the physical world!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  3. And Carol, as Mr. Brown Thumb suggested in one of his bloggings, the Garden Journal is dead. This blogging thing makes things more fun and interactive. And adding the photos literally minutes after taking them. What is this world coming to??? :) Gardenmomma

  4. How about blogging -- hasn't everyone learned at least one thing from someone else's gardening blog? How about the internet -- being able to google and find out just about anything?

  5. The next big idea? Well, if I knew that, I'd be a zillionair! lol. But what about people taking on the challenge of doing their own landscaping? It's become a huge DIY thing.

    If you do something you don't like (cause you neglected to use that nifty design software-which is something I personaly think has changed the way people garden) rip it out and try something else. After all, DIY means you didn't hand someone mega-bucks to plant some marigolds for you. Oh, the satisfaction! :)

  6. When I was young I remember a relative's husband was working on the common tomatoe, trying to make it bigger, tastier, more meaty. Don't quote me on this but I think he was a resercher for Eli Lilly.

  7. The idea of a lawn. A lot of gardeners are either reducing the size of their lawn or getting rid of it entirely. In the fifties the lawn was queen/king. Having a golf course lawn was next to godliness and what everyone wanted with just a few planting just at the periphery of the house. I just keep buying more plants and slowly dig up more lawn which in my mind is taking up valuable space! Also a PITA having to mow, fertilize, apply pesticide, water, rake, edge, blow clippings all using polluting power devices.

  8. I agree totally with Annie in Austin. With the digital camera you can see instantly where you need changes, additions, etc. I believe it's helping to turn many gardeners more toward garden designers. This combined with blogging is making the hobby far more enjoyable to many. I think it's the reason that so many new people are joing the gardening ranks.

    Very interesting question.


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