I pledge to help new gardeners...

Every spring, new gardeners emerge from the dark tunnel of their world without gardening into the light of a world with gardening.  These new gardeners can be a bit blinded by the brightness of the gardening world and need our help, if we are experienced gardeners.

Raise your right hand and repeat after me...

I, (state your name), will remember that there was a time when I didn't know much about plants or gardening.

I will not roll my eyes or  sigh or otherwise indicate in any way that a new gardener's question is one that has been asked a thousand times before.  I will answer it.

I will not laugh at new gardeners when they attempt to pronounce botanical names, nor will I correct them and tell them my way of pronouncing it, as though my way is the only way, the right way, even if I know that it is.  Well, I won't correct them in public but I won't let them continue to make it obvious that they are a new gardener by continually mis-pronouncing Clematis.

I will remember that the collective wisdom of gardening and knowledge of plants is much bigger than my knowledge of gardening, vast though I think it might be, and therefore, it is possible for a new gardener to encounter some new wisdom or knowledge that I know nothing about.  I will learn from them at times.

I will never give a new gardener a thuggish plant, no matter how much they beg or promise to keep it under control.

Finally, I will remind new gardeners that gardening is a way of life, a journey, and once in the light, their lives will never be the same.

Thank you. You may lower your hand now, grab a hoe and head out to your garden.  Be careful in the heat!


  1. As a relatively new gardener, I do appreciate that (though if we are not in public, I do really want to learn the right way to pronounce that!) Actually, I usually end my sentences with 'how-do-you-pronounce-that?' anyway.

    And I still will probably mispronounce Clematis, since around here, if I said CLEMatis, nobody would know what I was talking about. (Indeed I can hardly get my tongue around the 'correct' pronunciation myself)

  2. One of my favorite things about being a part of our gardening community in Austin is everyones willingness to help each other. There are so many intricacies to gardening and I have no doubt there is easily a lifetime of knowledge to absorb. This is a nice reminder of the value of helping each other along on this wonderful, sometimes thrilling, sometimes frustrating journey.

  3. Loved this post. I enjoy gardening and always have new things to learn. It is so nice when there are kind people out there to share their knowledge.

  4. I love being a part of the Bridge of Flowers committee and the Greenfield Garden Club because both organizations are devoted to helping new gardeners - along with everything else we do. No one gets hung up on Latin names - or even the pronounciation of clematis.

  5. The Flâneur Husband desperately wants to have the same instinctive knowledge of gardening that I gained through growing up with gardening parents and grandparents, and I pledge to be as supportive and encouraging as I can be.

    I like this entry a lot.

  6. Lovely sentiment, Carol. Well done, and yes, we must do our part, AND remember that we don't know everything.


  7. Love it and will do my best to follow it. Although I still have issues with those Latin names but I strive to learn them right. But I will help those who seek it.

  8. Carol, Every part of your pledge is so absolutely true. I apply these principles every day in my dealings with new customers at my nursery. It is so amazing that I would have written the ame list. Very fun meeting you at the fling after participating in GBBD for so long. It was such a fun time. Carolyn

  9. I think we've all been helped by patient, generous, more experienced gardeners in our time. I also find this kindly attitude in blogs like yours, Carol. So it's only right that we pass on the kindness we've been shown to newer gardeners. But I admit the point about thuggish plants was one I hadn't thought about before. It makes a lot of sense, though, and I'll remember it.

  10. Excellent post, thanks very much. I'll try to keep these pledges myself. I had my own garden mentors who were gracious to me when I was young; I need to do likewise. And when I hear someone say "peOHny", instead of "PEEony", I'll allow for that. Heck, just this year I was corrected by Jodi DeLong's book (Plants for Atlantic Gardens) about Weigela (having said "weigelia" for years!).

  11. :) Me too!

  12. IN Woodland GardenerTue May 29, 08:36:00 AM 2012

    As a fairly new gardener, I appreciate your pledge and I pledge to be teachable and follow directions. :-)

  13. Great points to remember, we were all once green. (pun intended).


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