Gardening Geek: 50 and Over Edition

You might be a gardening geek 50 and over if…

You realize that a bucket list might be something other than a list of buckets you use around the garden. Bonus points if your other bucket list includes some flowers you still want to grow and some gardens you still want to see.

You think that “point and tell the young man where to dig” is an excellent method for digging holes or removing a bunch of sod, like Cindy at My Corner of Katy did. Ditto for spreading mulch. Bonus points if you have actually used this method.

You’ve spent so much time with your hands in the dirt that before you go to shake hands with someone, you automatically clap your hands together to knock the dirt off and then sneak in a quick wipe across your backside to make sure the dirt is really off your hands. (This is also known as the universal gardener’s hand shake… clap, clap, clap, wipe… now you are ready to shake hands with someone.) Bonus points if you actually tried this method as soon as you read this.

You’ve learned that the best time to plant a tree is 20, 30, or 40 years ago and you realize you really did plant some of your trees 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Bonus points for every tree over 20 years old that you’ve planted.

You check the medicine cabinet to make sure it is stocked with post-gardening medications for aches and pains before you head out to the garden for an afternoon of digging and hoeing. Bonus points if you just now thought, “Hey, I do need a new tube of Bengay® cream before spring.”

You buy a magnifying glass to read the fine print on the seed packets, but you tell everyone it is so you can get a closer look at the flowers and bugs. Bonus points if it is a nice, big magnifying glass and not a kid’s “Winnie the Pooh” version.

You think the person who invented the kneeling pad with the handles to help you get back up is an absolute genius. Bonus points if you have one of these and use it.

You find an old box of seeds in the potting shed from 20 years ago. Bonus points if you thought about testing the viability of the seeds because you’ve learned that money doesn’t grow on tree and gosh, seeds today cost a lot more now than they used to!

You understand that what’s old is new again so you still read your 1961 edition of “How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method”, edited by J. I. Rodale and staff, looking for new old ideas. Bonus points if you have more than five gardening books that were published more than 25 years ago. Double bonus points if you bought some of those books yourself when they were first published.

You wear a wide-brimmed hat in the garden to keep the sun off your face and neck and don’t give a darn how it looks. Bonus points if you have more than one such hat.

You are actually excited to qualify for membership in the Society for Gardeners Age 50 and Over. Bonus points if you got in on the first round of voting.

You realize it is no longer necessary to explain why someone as young as you are is so interested in gardening, but you are confident that you did all you could in the decades before you turned 50 to show that gardening is a great way of life for persons of all ages.

A gardener may confess her age, but she shouldn’t reveal how many points she scored on this little test of gardening geekiness!


You might also be a gardening geek in other ways, such as …

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  1. What a hoot Carol. I am a proud memeber of the Gardeners over 50 Geekdom. Yes, I have quite a collection of those wide brimmed hats and my bucket list has several plants and gardens I must see before...

  2. Wow...I did better on this than almost all the other "Geek" quizzes. Age has its advantages! I could be depressed about having planted those old trees and bought those old books but on the other hand I've earned my membership in SGAFO so instead I'll be proud!

  3. Carol .. I haven't lived in one place long enough for the old seeds and old trees that had been planted .. but my heart was certainly in it .. and we have finally settled down .. I actually believe it now that we are here over 9 years and the garden is really mine this time !! : )

  4. I scored 100! So funny! I thought I was the only ine who does/thinks about/needs these things!

  5. Great post! I'm not quite 50 yet, although I scored pretty high.

  6. Too funny, Carol. What does it mean when you qualify in your mid 40's?? I have a weird fascination for all those old gardening books too. All those crazy new ideas have either become common practice or have been weeded out.

  7. Now this made me smile. I wish, however, I weren't so familiar with so many of these things!

    BTW, I can't imagine you ever pointing to a young man where to dig! You would have to get in there yourself, I believe.

    Robin Wedewer

  8. I continue to OVER-qualify for the SGAFO.

  9. Hi Carol, how many bonus points does one get if one carries garden tools and various sizes of nursery pots in one's vehicle? Um, never mind, I really don't need the bonus points.

    I loved this post, not that I could relate or anything. . .

  10. I think we have the same hat, for starters. Medicines, check--especially ibuprofen. I've always wanted one of those kneelers...but I wonder if I would use it. I tend to sit on my heels instead. Telling young men where to dig--not as often as I liked to but my stepson did dig out a very stubborn stump over Christmas present yet. I do know a tree I planted over 30 years ago and sometimes I drive by the house to visit it. I've had a powerful magnifying glass for years. And I've been digging into my 1961 edition of the Organic Method book. (That wasn't mine however; my mom gave it to me last year when I visited her.) However, my collection of gardening books published more than 25 years ago is quite extensive. I only have one, that I bought new that is that old, though: another Rodale book: Growing and Using Healing Herbs. That was the first gardening book I ever bought and I got it over 30 years ago.

  11. Hilarious as always, Carol! I still find it hard to believe that you could have joined this club (I joined in December)...and it's been yikes, more than 40 years since I first planted something. Pass the ibuprofen, please!

  12. I have this one aced, well, except I'm only 46, and I need one of those kneeling pads with handles. Oh, yes, I do. Happy Birthday, my friend.~~Dee

  13. Oh Carol, so funny and so true, ummm I seem to qualify for all those points ooops, I wasn't supposed to reveal that was I. Actually - I no longer do the clap, clap, clap wipe. I am old enough to stick out a dirt encrusted hand. My local shop have got used to picking out the money from the bits of soil
    Fun post

  14. If large-brimmed hats get a person into your club I've been a member since age 5, Carol!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  15. I'm still laughing...

    Hey, I have a kneeling pad but mine doesn't have handles. My husband bought me knee pads that construction workers use. I feel bionic when I wear them.


  16. Another 9 years and I'll be seeking membership too, Carol. I'm well on my way already. The wide-brimmed hat collection--check. The dirty hands--check. First tree planted--15 years ago. I haven't hired an under-gardener yet, but it sounds appealing.

  17. Carol, I'm not sure I qualify for geekship yet, only because I didn't start truly gardening until I was 50. Think of what I missed out on all those years--but I'm catching up quickly!

  18. Hi Carol, you are always so fun to read, thanks! I really liked the planting of trees more than twenty years ago and began to think if there were any, there were, and how many, with all the houses and new gardens I have started. Tree planting is special in the gardening realm I think, for most of us won't live long enough to see that tree at its maturity. It is planted for future generations. Happy birthday again, you are really young at heart, my dear. :-)

  19. so nice not to be only one who looks at non-growing season as a time to ruminate of coming gardens. thank you for your uplifting posts

  20. I turned 50 last year but I never got notified that I was accepted into The Society for Gardeners Age 50 and Over. Do you think my acceptance got lost in the mail, or should I reapply?

  21. So far all I have is the broad-brimmed hats (yes, plural), but I still have some time to work on the other things. I love the official gardeners' handshake.

  22. A proud and happy member of the club! Have the hat, have the hand shake and have even tested the older seeds! gail

  23. This post won't apply to me for another 20 years LOL!

    But, i am sure I will be happy that I planted these little trees when that day comes :P

  24. Gosh, I am in some great company, with gardeners on both sides of 50! Thanks all for the nice comments and notes.

    I'm celebrating 50, could you tell?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  25. There is still some time before I get there - but now I know what to expect... =)

    (And sometimes I think I'm already there - I gain a lot of points already!)

  26. Well done, Carol. I see I'm in good company. I thank God everyday that I'm still able to keep on gardening. Here's hoping for another 50 years - at least for my trees.

  27. I am there! Do I get bonus points for having a hat exactly like the one in the picture? ;-)

  28. Great Post Carol: I must qualify because I am almost 70, have a TILLY
    HAT, have gardened most of my life in one way or another, have two gardens one in Florida and one in New Hampshire and started a Garden Blog a few months ago.

    John at JWLW


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