Hortus sanus: Your gardening helicopter has been cleared for landing

Exteme close up inspection
The tower has cleared you and your gardening helicopter for landing.

Are you constantly checking to see which plants need more water, less water, more sun, less sun, more shade, less shade? Do you inspect your plants daily to figure out if they should be pruned, deadheaded, staked or shaped? Do you take a magnifying glass with you so you can see deep into the crevices of the bark of the trees? Is the local soil testing lab named in your honor because you have performed every soil test imaginable for your garden?

If you are constantly checking and inspecting your garden, hovering over it looking for signs of trouble, then land that helicopter, turn off the propellers, and turn in your pilot’s license. Stop hovering! Stop worrying about your garden. Stop fussing over the plants.

You are driving yourself and everyone around you nuts.

You need to learn that plants require far less attention than you are giving them.

Leave them alone. Let them grow.

Oh sure, you have to pay extra attention to the little seedlings so they don’t dry up before they even have a chance. Ditto the newly transplanted. And it is a good idea to walk through your garden occasionally to look for signs of trouble like bad bugs, weeds, plant diseases and flopped over plants.

But by and large, just let the garden grow. Fight back the wilderness, show the garden you are in charge, follow the laws of Mother Nature and don’t sink your fortune into the plants.

If you do all that and stop hovering and worrying, you’ll end up with hortus sanus, a healthy garden, and you’ll be healthier, too.

“Tower, we’ve got another helicopter gardener ready to land.”


  1. Dear Carol, I am so enjoying these hortus sanus posts, keep 'em coming!
    Luv, Frances

  2. The garden can drive one crazy. I usually look for successes rather than problems in the garden. Keeping one's sanity is always difficult when perfection is desired. Food for thought, as always.

  3. I learned this lesson when I fell and activated my sciatica. Things went along quite nicely without my hovering.

    On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with going out there and walking around enjoying the sights on a daily basis, which is not the same as hovering. I find the OC part of me stooping down to pull the errant weed when I see them. I really need to stop this and just look and enjoy. I guess there are lots of times when I am hortus insanus. . .

  4. Oh, this is perfect! You know just how to give the right "spin" (!) on it all. Yep, we find the best garden magic when we don't hover.

  5. Being a gimpy gardener right now (injured arm), I am having to let my garden fend for itself, too. And lo and behold, it still grows, it still blooms, it still attracts butterflies and bees. Humbling to think that the world of gardening can exist without me!

  6. I used to do this, but have learned to let it be. Right now the leaves are falling, pecans are falling, debris from trees like the pecan stains the drive. This is no time for perfectionistic thoughts of that immaculate garden seen in magazines. Happily, my compost pile looks good right now, so that's a relief.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  7. Good advice and great story. Hortus sanus, we should all be so lucky.

  8. That's why I love late summer in the garden so much. Aside from some watering and deadheading, it's time to just sit back and enjoy.

  9. So true, Carol. It's just as well that I'm usually too busy to fuss over the plants - as you say, they're much better for it.

  10. So now I might have a glimpse of what's really going on in the minds of my gardening friends who are always in their gardens and rarely venture back inside their homes.

    I've always been laid back about my own gardens. There's never been much to worry about. I learned young from my Grandfather to create and start with perfect soil and the right plants in the right areas.

    Preparation, planning, and learning from my mistakes seems to be the key for me. Otherwise, I may be out there hovering as well.

  11. Your post really made me smile! I have to admit that I am more likely to suddenly be ambushed by the realisation that I have left everything to just get on with it for a little too long, but for me my garden has to be fairly self sufficient, and I have no truck with fussy plants. Mind you, I could do with getting to grips with deadheading regularly, just to get more flowers... Oh, and the word verification thingy is "proon", which seems rather appropriate!

  12. Love this! I know all about helicopter parents but had not taken it to the next level: gardeners, of course...


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!