When someone finds out you are a gardener, inevitably, the next question is, “what kind of gardening do you do?”
How do you answer that question?
After being asked that question for years, I have no better answer than “I do all kinds of gardening”. I referred to it recently as being an “omni-gardener”, or as Annie in Austin commented on a recent post about an orchid blooming in my sunroom, “omni-fleurus”. I like all kinds of plants and flowers.
But there are other gardeners who might be described as “uni-fleurus” who could easily answer the question “what kind of gardening do you do?” They focus in on one type flower or plant and other plants and flowers become secondary to their primary interest. They start and join plant societies dedicated to a particular type of flower or plant. They host competitions to see who has the best rose or orchid or daylily or iris or dahlia or whatever they are all focused in on. They come up with rules and standards for judging their flowers. They trade seeds and cuttings with each other. They go on exotic trips to add to their collections. And they get books written about them.
The world of those who have fallen for orchids has been chronicled in Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen. You can get insight into rose lovers in the recently published book Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening by Aurelia Scott. (Thanks to the bloggers of Garden Rant, I won a copy of that book this spring, and enjoyed reading it.)
And as fall comes around, and our thoughts turn to fall harvests and pumpkins, we now have the opportunity to read the soon to be published book, Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Susan Warren, about gardeners who have focused all their time and land on growing giant pumpkins.
Several garden bloggers have had the chance to preview this book and review it, including Steven, Hannah, Colleen, and Michelle, who has actually been growing a big pumpkin of her own this year. All of them, along with me, give this new book a thumbs up. It’s engaging and pulls you in to a world that we omni-fleurus gardeners know of, but can hardly imagine.
Or can we?