Maladies of Gardeners

The great Dr. Hortfreud has been studying gardeners, or at least one particular gardener, for years.  She has observed that this gardener, and presumably many other gardeners, are prone to a number of maladies.

Four of the most common maladies of gardeners as observed by Dr. Hortfreud include:

Plant Lust.  Gardeners are likely to come down with a bad case of plant lust any time they enter the garden of another gardener and see a lovely plant they do not have.  Symptoms include a desire to linger in front of the plant for long periods of time, a run of questions about the plant, including "where can I get that" and an immediate feeling that they are deprived because they don't have that plant in their own gardens.

In extreme cases of Plant Lust, some gardeners attempt to remove seed pods or pinch off a tiny cutting in hopes of rooting it for their own garden.  However, it should be noted that stolen seeds, cuttings or even plants will not grow in the thief's garden and so this will not cure Plant Lust.

Zone Envy.  Zone Envy is similar to Plant Lust but affects gardeners when they visit a warmer climate zone than their own and see a plant that simply will not grow in the colder climate of their garden. There is no cure for gardeners as long as they remain in their own zone though some gardeners will attempt to cure Zone Envy by a process called Zone Pushing or Zone Denial. This involves seeking out the hardiest camellias plants and planting them in the warmest microclimate in their garden.

Many gardeners with Zone Envy can be treated with constant reminders of the many plants, like peonies, they can grow in their colder climates that warmer climate gardeners can not grow.

Cart Eyes.  Cart Eyes, another form of Plant Lust, occurs in gardeners when they are shopping at a garden center or greenhouse and notice a plant on another gardener's cart and immediately desire to have that particular plant or one just like it.  The onslaught of Cart Eyes can be quite sudden and may cause a gardener to purchase a plant they previously had not noticed and have no idea where they will plant it once they take it home to their garden.

In rare cases, Cart Eyes can induce a gardener to attempt to distract the gardener with the plant they desire so they can swipe that plant from their cart or quickly switch it for another one, or at least have thoughts of doing so.  When this happens, again, it is a fruitless attempt because a stolen plant never grows, even if the stolen plant was only in the cart of the other gardener, and not yet purchased.

63 and Sunny.  This recently named malady affects gardeners when the weather conditions are perfect for gardening, as in 63F and sunny.  It is worse when the preceding days were 45F and rainy and the 63F and sunny day occurs on a weekend.  Once a gardener comes down with 63 and Sunny, it is best for everyone if they are allowed to cancel all other plans and spend the day in the garden.

Attempting to force the gardener to do other activities, especially indoors, when they've come down with a case of 63 and Sunny can result in mental harm to the gardener, with symptoms such as grumpiness, frowny face, and in some cases withering stares towards the person or thing that caused them to miss out on a day in the garden.  Most cases of 63 and Sunny take place in early spring and late fall. It is rare in the heat of summer.

Though none of these maladies is life threatening, Dr. Hortfreud notes it is important to recognize their existence and treat them for the health and well-being of the gardener and all those around her.


  1. I think these maladies are more prevalent than anyone realized before now. I applaud Dr. Hortfreud's outstanding research based on years of meticulous observation.

  2. So we NEED to buy those plants. For our health. Yes!

  3. I have been struck with all of these maladies at one time or another. The 63 and sunny has been quite evident this fall. Many lovely days in the garden.

  4. I'm currently struck with 63 and sunny. In mid-November, in western New York! I should be inside finishing a baby quilt, but 63 and sunny is pulling me outside.

  5. You forgot:
    Stoop Labor Avoidance
    I can lift anything syndrome
    Plant name forgetfulness
    FauxSpokesperson: Going around preaching to one and all about the latest "discovery" of plant, tool, fertilizer, deer removal, gardening method

  6. Great list...Dr H scores again.

  7. I would love to come down with a case of 63 and sunny!

  8. One again you've nailed it! Brightened up our 45 and Rainy day, which was giving me a frowny face.

  9. This is soooo true. I just got my Hosta Journal and the notification to vote for my favorite hostas. So many I still want. I love 'Guardian Angel' but have so far convinced my self that I do not need it (I have 150 other plants already) and all I have to do is walk three doors down and visit it at my neighbors's. We'll see what happens next spring.

  10. Yep, we had several days last week of 63 and was glorious. First time in years we put everything away before snow hit. this is upstate NY so it's wonderful getting these extra warm days before
    winter hits!
    Another malady I suffer from is letting everything go to read a wonderful book. This week it's been Andrea Wulfe's book 'The Invention of Nature, the life of Alexander Humboldt'. A great read for al gardeners.

    Thanks for another great post!

  11. I admit it. I suffer from all these afflictions, except that, adjusting for geography, "63 and sunny" is redefined as "80 with a slight chance of rain" in my area of southern California.

  12. 63 and sunny would be just perfect here in Devon, South West UK. We manage it on occasions each year but have to put up with the variations of hot and cold, windy gales and horizontal rain and even the odd bit of snow and ice that comes from living close to the Atlantic. So many plants seem to relish our climate and thrive, but I don't have room for them all.

  13. Funny post! But I think Dr. Hortfreud has missed another cart-related malady: KidinaCandyStore, a condition marked by unrestrained plant shopping in late spring (or bulb purchasing in early autumn), in which the where and how plants will be planted are forgotten and even the means to transport them home are given no thought. (Example: I once forgot that I had my two children with me when plant shopping and bought so many flats of 4"pots that some of them had to ride home on my children's laps...) It's a very serious illness, not to mention the financial ill effects. Thanks for the laugh! :-) Beth

  14. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing information of gardening. Gardeners easily get idea from post.

  15. These maladies do little harm, and only lead the gardeners to improve their gardens. How can this be bad? There has been a lot of 63 and Sunny going around this fall, which is quite rare.

  16. Lol, that is just too funny! Loved reading this! I can totally relate to the comment of Beth. Only a newbie gardener I already showed a severe case of Kid-in-a-candy-store, haha! 63 and sunny? Yep, got that one too! Zone envy? Well, a case of zone denial yes got that. Wishing you many 63 and sunny days and a happy weekend! Wen


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