In Consideration of Gardening Superstitions

Greetings to all members of the Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Old-Time Gardening Wisdom, Lore, and Superstition (SPPOTGWLS or “the Society”)!

As noted in our Society bylaws, written and adopted by me, the self-appointed president, we are required to have a special meeting on all Fridays that fall on the 13th of the month to discuss gardening related superstitions and decide if they have merit or not, merit being in the mind of the believer.

From previous discussions about superstitions, we decided it’s not really bad luck to carry a hoe into your house, so we will dismiss that one as not having merit.

But most of us aren’t taking any chances when it comes to thanking others for passalong plants. We are just not going to say thanks!

Fortunately, most gardeners understand this tradition and aren’t offended by this seeming lack of gratefulness. Most of us will usually stop someone from thanking us for a plant, anyway, just in case. There is just no sense in taking chances on this one.

Speaking of not taking chances, I recently found some information regarding the day you find the first flower of spring and how what day you find it on can be used as an omen.

“Monday means good fortune,
Tuesday means greatest attempts will be successful,
Wednesday means marriage,
Thursday means warning of small profits,
Friday means wealth,
Saturday means misfortune,
Sunday means excellent luck for weeks.”
Does this have merit or not?

I say no! How can finding a first bloom on any day of the week cause misfortune or warning of small profits? I propose we modify this as follows:

Monday means good fortune,
Tuesday means greatest attempts will be successful,
Wednesday means happiness,
Thursday means good fortune, success, happiness, wealth, prosperity in and out of the garden, and excellent luck,
Friday means wealth,
Saturday means prosperity in the garden,
Sunday means excellent luck for weeks.

Do I have a motion to change this? A second? All in favor? Opposed same sign? Let the record show that the motion was approved.

Let the record also show that the snowdrop (Galanthus sp.) pictured above is the first bloom I found this spring, and I found it on Thursday. I’m very excited by what finding this first bloom of spring means for me, now that we fixed that little superstition/omen.

Speaking of blooms, apparently it is bad luck to pick foxglove blooms, primarily because it offends the garden fairies, as in ‘makes them mad’. You definitely don’t want to make garden fairies mad, as that can result in them doing all kinds of things in the garden, and I’m not talking about good things.

They can do bad things like lead the rabbits to the lettuce patch and then watch as they eat your salad. They can move plants around in the garden and then watch your puzzled expression as you look at where you thought you planted something and then look over to where it really is. In fact, if you are very quiet when you do that, you might actually here a garden fairy faintly laughing.

This one clearly has merit! Don’t risk it. Just leave the foxglove alone!

Members of the Society, I now turn the meeting over to you. Does anyone else have any flowery superstitions to share with the group?

Remember, it is bad luck to not share, to withhold information from other members. Don’t risk it!

Humbly submitted by:

Current President, SPPOTGWLS
May Dreams Gardens, where the first snowdrop bloomed on Thursday, February 12


  1. So I've always wondered, if it is bad luck to thank someone for a pass along plant, is the seed part of that? I've gotten seeds from people and thanked them. Am I going to pay for this in bad luck later?

  2. One of my garden mentors in the native plant area...said that if someone takes a plant without permission it will not thrive~~~I think he put a hex out into the garden universe on folks who dig native plants from the wild! The word veri is in pony up and pay the piper if you dig without permission!


  3. Very Cute post. I know not to thank someone for a pass-along plant, but it certainly is hard... and you must be very creative in expressing your appreciation! ;-)

  4. I was wondering about my rabbit problem, but now I realize it is because I was cutting the foxgloves for bouquets. They did look pretty but I guess that behavior will have to become a thing of the past if I want to keep these bad bunnies under control!

  5. My great aunt used to say that giving lilacs to people when they're sick would bring bad luck. I'm not sure if it was to the giver or the recipient. :) She also used to say that plants that were already in bloom should be transplanted in the moonlight, not the light of day. (She was a wonderful lady...quite sane, and an avid gardener.) Another one I've been told many times, perhaps because we used to pick them every spring as kids, was that it was bad luck to bring Mayflowers -- Nova Scotia's provincial flower -- into the house. I can't imagine it as even a small bouquet will fill a room with fragrance. Those are the only things that come to mind.

  6. My old friend and neighbor Billie would say "I hope it grows for me" when I gave her a plant or seeds. So I tend to say something similar instead of thank you ... Billie had a fabulous garden and if it worked for her, that's good enough for me!

  7. What a Fun Post.
    Thank you.
    I posted an interesting slant yesterday

  8. Ya know, I think this election/meeting was rigged...I found my hellebore blossom on Tuesday.

  9. I've heard that rue will not thrive unless it has been stolen. Talk about not saying thanks!

  10. I like how they all signify good luck. Woo-Hoo.~~Dee

  11. Not sure if this is a superstition, but how about:
    “Place twelve onions in a row on Christmas day; name each one after a month and put salt on their tops. Those on which the salt is melted inside of twelve days will be wet months, according to Long Island weather science.”
    Baer’ Farmer’s Almanac, Foretelling the Weather, 1909

  12. Oh, I had no idea! I've passed along a lot of plants, happy to find a home for them (and hope the new owners are happy too). What's supposed to have happened?

  13. Okay, you may need to tell people like me why it is bad luck to thank people for plants. I don't get it, it happens to jump right out of my mouth when I receive a plant. This is my first year with foxglove, my seedlings are up. Now I will not pick those, wouldn't want to tick off the garden fairies, although my garden angels might be able to to them on!

  14. And I thought you didn't want to pick Foxgloves because they are poisonous. I'm sorry I have no plant superstitions. I'm just not superstitious. How can Friday the 13th be bad luck - it's a Friday!

  15. All, thanks for sharing more fun and interesting superstitions. I've heard of some, but others are new to me. I think by far the most controversial superstition is around passalong plants and whether or not to thank someone for them. I've slipped a few times myself!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  16. I had never heard that about pass-along plants! Now, what a dilemma I have -- must I explain this to people who give me plants so that they don't think I am rude and uncultured for not thanking them!

    Only plant superstition I have comes from Australia -- it is VERY bad luck to bring wattle flowers (mimosa) into the house. No idea why, nor what will happen, and for that reason I have never done it, not even in spring in Europe when the street vendors sell sweet little bunches of fuzzy yellow balls of mimosa.

  17. Maybe not superstition ...

    When transplanting a tree, some like to mark the north side when pulling it out of the ground, then orient it the same way at its destination. Don't know how this goes for house plants, cuttings, etc.


  18. The only superstition I can think of is that you should plant root vegetables during the dark of the moon.

  19. Folks down here in the South have always said you will have bad luck planting anything near black walnut trees.

    Apparently that is true for scientific research now shows that black walnut roots produce a toxin that is lethal to other plants. I suppose that is why we see either groves of walnut trees together or just a big solitary tree with nothing growing near it.

    Interesting post...and I love your sense of humor!

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

  20. Something tells me your motion for the day's significance was rigged:)

    Reading your comments, I'm reminded of my Dad smuggling home an edelweiss plant from Germany. My dad, never one to break rules, wanted one so badly, though. Sure enough, it didn't live once he planted it here.


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