Guide to Horti-guiding

Post reading instructions!

If you came here looking for the seed giveaway, please check out yesterday’s post.

If you are a less experienced gardener, looking to learn more about gardening, read no further.

If you are an experienced gardener, keep reading for a great idea.

Experienced gardeners… would you like to join me in becoming an Eccentric Gardening Guide (EGG) or Horti-guide? Here’s what you do…

As an EGG (Horti-guide), invite a Less Experienced Gardener (LEG) to your garden for a day or two or a week or until you are satisfied that all the work is done they have learned some of your tips and tricks of gardening.

Suggested activities that you as an EGG (Horti-guide) might engage your LEG in include:

Compost turning - As soon as your LEG arrives, hand them a pitchfork and show them how to turn a compost pile and then step back and observe as they turn your compost piles.

Compost harvesting - Once the LEG has conquered compost turning, they can move up to compost harvesting, how to scoop that good compost on to a compost sieve and work it through to reveal that black gold that’s been waiting all season to be harvested. I guarantee they will be wide-eyed with amazement at the richness that lies beneath all that garden refuse.

Mulching – The LEG will no doubt benefit from lessons about how to scoop up that mulch from the pile in your driveway or straight off the truck. You, the EGG (Horti-guide), can teach them how to maximize the load in the wheelbarrow while keeping it balanced so it doesn’t inadvertently tip over. Then you can show them how to carefully spread the mulch around the tender plants. Then it is practice time! Practice is an important part of the LEG’s education, necessary to allow them to one day become an EGG (Horti-guide) themselves. Let the LEG practice until the mulching is done.

Weed pulling – The LEG may balk at weeding, concerned they don’t know weeds from good plants. They also might be suspicious that you are just trying to get them to do the weeding in your garden. No matter – don’t let them skip this valuable lesson. Use your EGG (Horti-guide) stick, which can be an old hoe, to patiently point out weeds as the LEG kneels nearby weeding.

Once your LEG has finished compost turning and harvesting, mulching, and weed pulling you can move on to more advanced lessons, including hoeing, edging, digging, and mowing. But don’t let the LEG go on to the advanced lessons until these tasks their first lessons are finished. There are no short cuts on the path to becoming an EGG (Horti-guide) themselves.

Now, to be a good EGG (Horti-guide), you need to dress and act the part. Put on your best wide brim hat, greenest gardening t-shirt, those gardening pants still stained from the sap of the Amsonia. Strap on your Felco pruners in a holster and slip on your nicest gardening clogs. Speak lots of Hortish, and translate it for the LEG when necessary.

Then don’t forget, and this is very important -- grab your best most well-worn gardening gloves to show the LEG that you have done all that you are asking them to do. If they start to ask questions, deny that this is all some clever scheme you’ve come up with to get them to do the work in your garden.

Good luck, EGGs, and you LEGs who ignored the instructions at the beginning of this post and read this far, forget you saw this! Find an EGG and beg them to be your Horti-guide.


  1. I think you are so very smart to have come up with this plan and the LEG's will totally learn new techniques. I am now on the hunt...

  2. All for the good of gardening, right Carol? Might we add to the lesson the cutting back of hellebore leaves? My garden could be the hub of all such learning, as there are hundreds, plenty for all the students to practice on.


  3. This is certainly an excellent way for LEGs to learn to be good EGGS!

  4. I'm sure breaking sod for a new bed is an essential lesson before the composting and mulching. Fortunately I have one daughter who loves - er - is willing - to break sod for me almost every year.

  5. Carol, as usual, you excel at pulling our LEGs… into the garden. Hope mine don't detect a rotten EGG.

  6. Carol what a wonderful heart-warming suggestion. I have been too negligent in my efforts to educate young gardeners. I now realize I have selfishly kept way too many learning opportunities to myself. Thank you for showing me the light. :)

  7. Boy I needed to laugh...I will go forth and look for an unsuspecting described me to a T with the clog and hat and stained pants...oh boy...too funny

  8. Hmmm, this sounds a bit "Tom-Sawyerish" to me, Carol. But I'd love to find an unsuspecting EGG this spring:)

  9. What an inspired idea! The lesson I would give to my LEG ? Eradicating Bermuda grass! He/she would be with me forever! ;) Thanks for the laugh.

  10. Oh, and do you have any picket fences to demonstrate white washing? you are a funny girl.

  11. great posts! great blog. I have enjoyed my visit! Glad I found your link on Twitter! Have a great day!

  12. All these LEGs and EGGs makes me think of a popular line of pantyhose (and the 1980's commercial jingle that went with it).

    Although I think the last time I used pantyhose was to tie up the tomato vines.

    Off to find me some inexperienced gardeners...

  13. My father-in-law is only to happy to be my LEG, which makes my world a very happy place!! And he is a brilliant and meticulous digger.

  14. I always add 'granite excavation and removal' (rock chucking) into the tutorial.

    But, if they're the appropriate age, it's always good to end the day with How to Make Mojitos - good drinks and you get your mint nipped back.

  15. Thanks Carol, I really needed a break from my tech geek studies. Does being an assistant EGG at our Community Garden count. We had several LEG's and we taught them lots about setting posts for tomato plants and picking green beans by the bushel.

  16. Oops, I meant I'd like to recruit a few LEG's to help me:)

  17. Always thinking of others, that's my Indy Gardener friend. Help those LEG's I say.Now, if I can just catch one long enough to teach. :) ~~Dee

  18. I already have two LEG's. A 10-year old and a 6-year old. I'm obviously not at EGG level because I just end up demonstrating "tasks/lessons" continuously. :-(


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