Hortish: A Guest Post by the Garden Fairies

Garden fairies here. After getting “called out” for posting so infrequently last year, we’ve been biding our time waiting for Carol to relinquish control of the laptop so that we could get in here and post something.

We’ve waited so long, we’ve almost forgotten what it was we wanted to post about.

Oh, now we remember. We wanted to post about the language of gardeners, which we’ve dubbed “Hortish”

Now, many of you speak Hortish, and speak it quite fluently. The botanical names just flow from your lips in almost lyrical fashion, and to non-gardeners, it is clear you are talking a language they don’t know. If they want to know what you are talking about, they ask you for a translation.

Echinicea? Coneflower

Quercus? Oak

Dr. Hortfreud? Your therapist who visits you only when you mow or hoe or otherwise garden.

But there are other times when you talk Hortish and it sounds like English and you confuse the non-gardeners.

A six-pack? You, of course, are referring to a little plastic six-celled plant holder, the unit that annuals are often sold in. To others, it is beer.

A bulb? You, of course, are referring to “a short, modified, underground stem surrounded by usually fleshy modified leaves that contain stored food for the shoot within”. To others, it is a source of light, screwed into a socket.

Deadhead? You, of course, are referring to the action of cutting off dead flowers. To others, it could be a noun meaning a head that is dead.

A hoe? You, of course, are referring to a gardening tool used to chop down weeds or loosen the dirt. To others a hoe, is, well, not a gardening tool.

The whole point is… wait, we’re garden fairies. We don’t like to have a point to anything. It sets expectations. And when there are expectations, it leads to responsibility. And responsibility leads to work, and we garden fairies, as you know, do not knowingly work. We have to be tricked into doing anything that seems like work.

Hey wait a minute… did Carol just trick us into doing her writing? She’s going to pay for this! Just wait until she goes out into the garden this spring…

And while you’re waiting to get out into your garden, remember that when you are with people who don't garden and don't speak Hortish, think about what you are saying. There are similarities beween Hortish and English that might not always be apparent to them. Especially that one word… hoe.

(Don't forget to visit Wednesday's post and enter the contest to win a Fiskars® Momentum™ Reel Mower!)


  1. That Carol did trick you garden fairies into writing her post. It would make me so angry I would want a six pack and I don't mean annuals.

  2. I thought a dead head was someone who listened to the Grateful Dead. Thanks for clearing that up Garden Fairies.~~Dee

  3. It's good to hear from y'all again. If you really want to get back at Carol, hide her IGT when she's not looking!

  4. I'd be scared Carol...very scared. Better remain armed at all times...clip on that holster. Not that one...the Felcos one silly.

  5. Haha - love it! Dr. Hortfreud is especially relevant to me - I see him often!

  6. Tee hee, I love it when the garden fairies visit. And yes, I'd say you've been tricked and tricked well, little ones!

    I'm with Dee in thinking the English translation of Deadhead was someone who was way too attached to memories of Jerry Garcia. ;)

  7. I've been waiting to hear from you garden fairies...will try to pay attention to the words I use when speaking with non-gardeners. Daylight is just peeking and I just heard the most beautiful bird song outside my window...

  8. I love the garden fairies! I think I have some in my own garden.
    They, however, do not have access to my laptop. I love your blog.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I'm so far gone that I immediately thought of the Hortish connotation to those words, except for "six-pack" - for some reason I thought of abs.

  10. Good Garden Fairies is very nice an interesting informative post i really enjoyed Garden Fairies. Thank You

  11. Garden fairies please come visit my yard...You don't need to do any work just give me some ideas.

  12. Thank you, Garden Fairies, for introducing me to the basics of Hortish. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


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