A Gardener's Wardrobe

There was a time in my life when I had three sets of socks.  I had socks to wear with slacks to work, socks to wear when not gardening, and socks to wear when gardening.

The primary difference between the socks to wear when not gardening and the socks to wear when gardening was really the amount of ground-in dirt and grass stains that wouldn't come out in the wash.

Now I have far fewer "socks to wear with slacks for work" because I don't go to an office to work. I call it retired but some people look at my editorial calendar of magazine articles to write and speaking engagements to prepare for and declare that I am not all that retired.

Plus there is the book I wrote, and the book I am writing now.

Do you know what makes me happy about my book? When someone reads it and tells me they need three more copies for their friends or five more copies for Christmas presents.

Anyway. Socks. I've noticed that the line between socks to wear when not gardening and socks to wear when gardening is beginning to blur a bit. Now as I sort freshly laundered socks, I find I am grading them and pairing them by the amount of ground in dirt and grass stains that wouldn't come out with normal washing.

I just don't do abnormal washing. Wanita the washer isn't that fancy.  Dawnita the dryer isn't, either.

Anyway. Socks. There are mostly two piles now. One pile is "still not too grungy so wear when not gardening".  The other pile is "wear when gardening".  Guess which pile is bigger?

At some point, I started to sort jeans that way, too. Wear when gardening/Wear when not gardening.

However, my jeans sometimes don't get the message and a few otherwise perfectly good pairs of jeans have had to move from one stack to the other after getting a bit too involved in gardening. I hope they like their promotion, as I like to call it, to the world of gardening.

My T-shirts live a calm, peaceful existence, too, until called up to serve in the garden. Then they must prepare themselves for dirt and sweat and occasional snags when I find I have to crawl through, around, or over some plants to get to a weed.

Shoes? Well, when it comes to shoes, I buy some specifically for gardening so old shoes never get the call to come out to the garden. Sad for them.

And on it goes. A gardener. A wardrobe that is now divided into gardening/not gardening with ever blurring lines between the two.

(The picture above? Nothing to do with this post. It is Clematis 'Mrs. Robert Brydon' just beginning to bloom. I wonder if Mrs. Brydon gardened much, and what she wore when she did?)


  1. That was delightful reading for a break between garden tasks. I have a growing pile of jeans to wear while gardening, as I am a growing gardener. Seems about right to me. Enjoy the conference!

  2. I have a drawer and it is full of gardening socks and that is all. Have fun in Buffalo.

  3. Katherine White also wrote about her gardening wardrobe, or maybe it was her husband E.B.WHite that wrote about her wardrobe for gardening. Either way I sort of took to what they said...just wear what you are going to wear. Most of it washes out.

  4. Fun story. Although socks when gardening in the heat of summer doesn't work for me, just clogs I can kick off before entering the house. Thinking 1/3 of T's are for work and multiply when I forget to change into stained or holey T's...one of these days I'll learn.

  5. I wear thin socks. Loved your piece -- I struggle to sort gardening and cooking chlothes with a few vaguely decent things!

  6. I love the way you think! I never wear socks or rarely...just have plastic clogs and very dirty feet when I come in from the garden!
    About your book, it is so delightful and yes I will be giving it as gifts to my gardening friends. My husband and I have a nightly ritual of sharing a book. He does the reading because if I read he falls asleep. We are currently reading your book and totally enjoying it! We also love May! It is our birthday month and the last possible bit of spring weather in Houston. Happy Gardening!

  7. You always make me laugh... and, that's a good thing!

  8. I have socks, tee shirts, and pants dedicated to gardening tasks, too.

  9. My husband has big feet and many years ago I went to the local Bradenton flea market and bought him big black socks. Well they turned out to be too small and since my the washer did not get the soil (not dirt) off my white ones, I have been using them for years. Black is black and they look clean to me!


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