Another Type of Gardener

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?


  1. Omni or Multi and that's what I'll stay!

  2. It might be easier to concentrate on one thing but I certainly don't have the self control:)

  3. I always say "flower gardener" and the questioners are always surprised. "Gardener" to most people means veggies. They don't seem to equate gardening with flowers.

  4. There's just no way I could concentrate on only one species or genus. I'm too fond of too many perennials, too many shrubs, too many trees...and now as I learn more about alpine gardening and rock garden plants, you KNOW what's going to happen...a whole new addiction. REpeat after me: My name is (put name here) and I'm a plant addict.

    There are worse things, though, aren't there???

  5. Hi Carol!

    Just wanted to drop a line to let you know I referenced your article in my review of Backyard Giants over at Garden-Ideas.

    Happy Gardening!


  6. Okay. Gotta read the pumpking book now. I'm feeling left out since I'm mostly reading about people who have read the book...

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  7. What a fun book! My brother this past summer was talking about growing a large pumpkin, but he never had the heart to pinch off other blooms on the plant (which puts him at an immediate disadvantage). I think that I need to order this book today for him - he'll love it! (Aren't most of the large pumpkins grown further north? I don't think we could compete in that arena down my way).

    Happy long weekend gardening.


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