Columbus Day... Our Thoughts Turn To Gardening

It’s Columbus Day in the United States and our thoughts turn to gardening, as they always do.

In many ways, today is kind of a “discovers’ holiday”, celebrating not just Christopher Columbus, but all those brave men and women who, like Columbus, left the known and sought out the unknown. They discovered new lands, new people, new animals, and for us gardeners… new plants!

What would our gardens be like if there had not been such great explorers, botanists and others willing to leave home and travel to far off lands to find new plants? Look around your garden and think about how many plants you wouldn’t be growing right now if they had all decided to just stay home.

For most of us, it’s quite a few plants.

In my own garden…

Lilacs? All the lilacs in my garden, like the one pictured above, are probably from Asia, yet we identify closely with them as the quintessential spring flowering shrub in USDA hardiness zones 6 and colder.

Tulips? I think they came from Turkey and surrounding areas.

Peonies? Even the peony, our state flower here in Indiana, originally came from Asia.

The other reason our thoughts turn to gardening on Columbus Day is because it is a well-timed day to have off from work if you are a gardener.

In my garden, if I had the day off, and I don’t, I’d be doing fall clean up or maybe planting a tree.

In more southern gardens, I assume those gardeners with the day off would continue to enjoy their ‘second season’ of gardening by planting seeds and flowers that will continue to grow for several more months.

Whatever you are doing, working or gardening, I hope you take a minute and think about all those explorers, including Columbus, who made it possible for you to be gardening with the wide range of plants available to us today.

Yes, it's Columbus Day, and our thoughts turn to gardening, as they always do.


  1. How appropriate to think of all those plant explorers on Columbus Day. I wish I did have the day off - I'd be in the garden like you predicted. Have a great day.

    Always Growing

  2. What a great post idea ... discovers' holiday. Thank you for your fresh insight as to how we came to enjoy so many of our plants due to the efforts of those who had the foresight to introduce wonderful new plants to our region. What would our yards and gardens be without them?

  3. Yes, it is a day of discovery. I need to get out in my garden to discover which plants I am bringing in this fall. It is to rain and turn cold the next couple of days. I hope you get the day off to do some discovering yourself.

  4. Carol, only you could tie Columbus Day into gardening. You really do have a one tract mind, don't you?

  5. Instead of thinking about the ornamentals, our family's tradition for Columbus Day was to remember the explorers at the dinner table - where Old World plants like wheat and spinach combine with New World plants like peppers and tomatoes to produce lasagna and old world wheat flour blends with New World chocolate and pecans for dessert.

    It's my suspicion that Chris came for the chocolate.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Wonderful way to tie gardening in with Columbus! The Americas sure were a treasure trove for the botanical world.

  7. I have an office at home, no kids in school and have avoided the I needed your post to remind me that it is a national holiday! Indeed we are still enjoying warm gardening weather here in the mid south! I am off to look for sales on garden plants! Have a good day.


  8. I'm ready to lobby for "Ernest 'Chinese' Wilson Day." I'd add to the list those garden mainstays, Daylilies and Hostas.


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