Signs of a Real Gardener

For the first time in quite a while, some real gardening took place here at May Dreams Gardens.

Yes, real gardening, not just watering and wishing for rain, which is what I think I did for most of August. I can't rightly recall much else that I did, other than harvest some tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and green beans.

But now it is September, and I'm back to doing real gardening and being a real gardener again. It's like returning home after a long trip.

Real gardeners like to do more than water. We also like to weed, deadhead flowers, prune, plant, and mulch.

We also love to discover new blooms like this Colchicum, which I found blooming in my garden today. It's a passalong plant!

One day late last summer, a package from none other than Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening showed up in my mailbox. It contained five Colchicum bulbs, which I immediately planted.

Nothing happened last fall, but this spring the foliage came up right on schedule, and now at least one flower has bloomed. Hopefully there will be a few more blooms in the next week or so, in time for me to include them in my September Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post on the 15th.

Real gardeners also enjoy harvesting produce from their vegetable gardens.

My tomato and pepper plants are slowing down a bit, especially after I didn't water them much in August, but there are still some "good pickin's" out there in the garden.

There is something else real gardeners do, but before I tell you about it, I should warn you that there is a picture coming up of some webworms I found in my crabapple tree. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen them.

If you don't follow my Twitters or haven't seen the picture, I'm just warning you, it isn't a pretty sight.

You've been warned.

It will be a test to see if you are a real gardener if you can look at this picture without your skin crawling.

I'm going slow here with lots of white space so you can prepare yourself or avert your eyes, your choice.

Are you ready?

There they are.

Real gardeners know what to do when they encounter these beasts out in the garden feasting on their trees and other plants.

In fact, one sign that you are a real gardener is if you can calmly cut this branch off to remove the webworms, study them a bit, while holding the cut off branch in your hand, and then toss them into the trash or put them by the bird feeder for the birds to eat.

And then you also kill a nest of yellow jackets found in the same tree, without getting stung.

Real gardeners area also delighted to find a bird's nest in the same tree.
And of course, a real gardener leaves it alone.

What are other signs of real gardeners?

Over in that mysterious place called Plurk, several of us gardeners were discussing this. In a spirited discussion, as spirited as you can get with each message being only 140 characters long, we discussed...

Real gardeners don't wear fake fingernails. It would be a waste of money! (This one might be a bit controversial, feel free to discuss in the comments.)

Real gardeners have more garden hoes than panty hose! (In fact, real gardeners use old panty hose to tie up tomatoes and other plants in the garden.)

Real gardeners spend more on their plants than they do their clothes. (They may also actually buy clothes just to garden in.)


Real gardeners buy shoes specifically for gardening, and don't just wear their worn out sneakers. (I prefer Jolly's, personally, and Muck shoes.)

Real gardeners think first of gardening tools when someone starts talking about hoes!

So how do you measure up as a real gardener?


  1. OK, so I am incredible creeped out by the worms/caterpillars. But I am creeped out by wearing panty hose and fake nails. So, I am one up here. Definitely spend more on plants than clothes and yes, buy clothes for gardening.I pruned planted and mulched today. Ate tomatoes out of my garden and I, too, am watching my colchicums bloom! Did I make the grade?

  2. I knew I was a real gardener, when my boys began eating veggies straight off the plants. Success.

    We had those worms last year. We thought they were cool and took pictures too.

  3. I did pretty good on being a real gardener, although I don't spend money on gardening shoes, I'd rather buy more plants, I just wear my old sneakers or hiking boots.

    I usually burn those nasty little nest of worms. Get a roaring fire going and roast those suckers.

    I also have been more busy in the garden, with the heat tempering some. We have had a run of glorious, wonderful fallish type weather with a good soaking rain from the remnants of hurricane Hanna. For the first time in a think forever, I have all my potted plants in the ground. Of course, there is still time to buy more! LOL

  4. I guess I'm a "real gardener". I would definitely be checking out those worms and getting a few pictures too. Finding a bird's nest is always a thrill.

    I've never had fake fingernails and I have a hard time keeping the dirt out of my nails.

    I've often used panty hose for tying up plants.

    I usually spend more on plants than clothes, and I have bought shoes just for gardening.

  5. Yipee! I pass the real gardener test - I totaly would have cut the branch and studied those little suckers. But I have to admit when I first came across them I would have freaked! Actually it's the spiders that make me jump, but we leave those guys right where they are.

    LOVING your blog!


  6. Not too grossed out by caterpillars, no fake nails, no pantyhose, spend more on plants than clothes, buy clothes just for gardening in, checked each one. I even have gardening pants. Still waiting for the Colchicums. Their noses are poking out of the soil, so any day now.

  7. I think I'm definitely getting there! I still wear my old shoes out in the garden - but it is only a matter of time till I own my very own pair of real gardening shoes...I have already been eyeing them. :) And I have spent more on plants than on clothes! And fake nails - more hassle than what they are worth - so yes...never again!

  8. I don't have fingernails fake or otherwise. I keep them broken off out in the garden. Who can afford clothes specifically for gardening when you are busy buying plants for the garden? Pantyhose..whats that?

  9. I have to be honest and say I am not a real gardener when it comes to spiders. Not so much about the worms and catepillars, but I never liked spiders, they just creep me out.

    I think I'm a real gardener when I find myself at work but reading gardening blogs and writing my blog at the same time. Ok time to get back to work. :-)

  10. I had two robin's nests this spring and I killed a hornworm on a friend's tomato plant this weekend. I thought that was pretty good.

    I do wear my old sneakers in the garden...or a pair of flip flops that have seen better days.

  11. I'm surprised you didn't make this another you know you're a gardening geek post. I'm happy to say I pass with flying colors. My colchicums are coming up, too.

    I'll add another to the real gardener list: real gardeners want to know what makes plants tick. That is, why they grow the way they do--or why they aren't growing.

  12. Well, Carol, I just came in from the garden and was feeling a bit down. So, you have reminded me that I am a real gardener as I have used all my panty hose to tie up plants, have no fingernails to speak of ( my bridge partner has false nails but my broken ones are in full display as I hold my cards). I can squeeze the life out out a 4" grasshopper so removing the web worms would be a breeze. It is so nice to know I am a real gardener and I feel cheered already. Thank-you. Also thanks for the pictures of the Colchicum. In the car yesterday I was listening to a tape of Vita Sackville West's( Sissinghurst) diary in which she talked about planting colchicums. I have a feeling they wouldn't be good for Texas. I'm off to the nursery. Bye.

  13. I think I'm still in water and pray for rain mode. Something about the end of summer makes me lazy.

  14. Mostly gardener is the best I can do by those standards, Carol! I'm always hiding my hands in public because I have no fingernails, spend more money on plants than clothes, use kneehighs to strain organic fertilizer into the hose-end sprayer, and have been known to write verse and take a photograph of doomed garden pests before dispatching them.
    But I don't buy special shoes -the garden is the last stop for my walking shoes.

    In my life I can get away with old clothes and ugly nails. That's not the case for many office, realty, and retail jobs where "Gardener Hands" and a shabby wardrobe would turn off a prospective client (or employer) and possibly reduce one's income. Many a real gardener gets her nails done, wears gloves and spends her extra money on plants.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  15. Pleased to say we do not have webworms over here- but they do look rather beautiful!

  16. Oh, Carol. That was bad. I wasn't expecting to see such an ugly mess of worms.

    Can I be a real gardener with fake fingernails and one hoe?



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