Gardeners Anonymous

oggcloverh.gif (163x98 -- 7647 bytes)

stuffedbaghead.jpg (119x153 -- 3842 bytes)

Gardeners Anonymous

with Witch Hazel the "Easy Organic"

Related Articles

Organic Ade

Gardeners Anonymous
Beyond Manure
Suck it Up - Phytoremediation
Soil Without Toil
Cover Crops

More Easy Stuff

Lasagna Gardening 101

Low Stress Gardens

Self-Planting Gardens

How to be a Crazy Gardener

Do you cruise around your neighborhood on trash day, picking up bags of leaves to shred for your garden? Do you keep a shovel or pruners in your vehicle…just in case? Do friends and relatives eyes glaze over when you start to talk about your compost pile? Do you have a genuine problem deciding whether to spend your money on groceries or a new plant? Then you could be a Crazy Gardener.

No one is born a crazy gardener. It creeps up on you. It may start with a packet of free seeds in the mail, or a plant given as a gift. Then, slowly, it increases until your kitchen and dining room tables are covered with flats of seeds, and there is no need for curtains in your house, because plants cover every square inch of window space.  There is no cure for crazy gardening, so just enjoy the ride.

Here are a few tips to help you along your way...

gardenplan.jpg (200x214 -- 9307 bytes)1.  Always plan your garden in detail. I prefer using large sheets of graph paper taped together until it is roughly a scale of 1:1. Mechanical pencils are a must, since a wooden pencil will always end up being used as a plant marker. Leaf through your plant and seed catalogs, comparing prices and carefully noting which plants will do well in the areas you have to fill. It helps to have a template for the plant forms, and colored pencils so that you can fill in the various foliage colors. 

Make sure you have your measurements precisely positioned so that in the spring you can forget EVERYTHING you have written down. After comparison-shopping all winter long, when you finally break out the checkbook for the springtime buying frenzy, you'll be lucky if you actually purchase anything on your list, once you get an eyeful of all the new and improved varieties introduced this spring. Of course, when you have them home, you will simply stick them in the garden at random `just for now' until you have time to plant them properly. 

I recommend you keep the store tag in an envelope which will provide you with hours of entertainment in future years as you wander around your garden, looking at the plant tags and wondering which plant goes with which tag.

trowelforkinground.jpg (200x223 -- 8689 bytes)2.  Always use the proper tools. Every gardener dreams of shiny handled shovels, sharp pruners, gleaming mowers, and a perfectly organized seed safe. Neatly coiled hoses, romantic gardening clothes, and a potting  bench of natural stone and wood with a space for everything also rank high on the wish list. In actuality, however, the perfect tool selection is nothing like the gardening supply catalogs indicate. 

For a crazy gardener, there should be a padded handled shovel, rake, hoe, and trowel leaning against each outdoor wall of the house, within easy grabbing distance for spontaneous gardening activities. Small hand trowels should be jammed trowel point down every ten feet amongst the perennials, and pruners should be hung from a low branch in each clump of trees or bushes. Lawn mowers aren't really needed for a true crazy gardener, since all the lawn will eventually be dug up and replaced with some more interesting collection of plants. 

A crazy gardener’s seed safe will always eventually consist of envelopes leaking seeds from the unsealed edges in an untidy jumble of whatever box, bag, or drawer has been chosen for the task. There is no such thing as a convenient hose, and potting benches are never clean when you need to pot, so any flat surface, such as tables, garden seats, or even the driveway usually suffices. 

Gardening clothes for a crazy gardener are whatever you happen to be wearing at the time the gardening urge strikes. From hospital gowns as you prune the dead leaves from the clinics Swedish ivy, to your Sunday best dress and heels as you realize that your pots need watering, as you are about to leave for church. The one truly necessary gardening tool for a crazy gardener, the one tool no crazy gardener should ever be without…is a sharpened stick. A sharpened stick can be a dibble, a hoe, and an impromptu pruner. It can be a garden trowel, or a snake whacker, a plant stake, or, if it is large enough, a crutch.

moneywithroots.jpg (150x190 -- 11640 bytes)3.  Stick to your budget. Your friends and family will be less likely to try to have you committed for compulsive gardening if you try not to use your house payment for new plants. Besides, where would you keep your plants without the house? A little creative thinking is all that is required to stick to your budget. Do you need ten plants, but only have money for one? Simple! Buy some rooting hormone and take cuttings of your neighbors' plants. Ten cuttings for the price of one! 

Do you have to make a choice between purchasing plants and purchasing food for the family? Easy. Purchase EDIBLE plants! Sure, you'll be hungry for a while, but when the crops come in, all will be forgiven! Do you have to purchase gifts? Give them the gift of a plant! Either they will ask for help taking care of it, or they will become a fellow crazed gardener, and offer you cuttings. You can prompt your friends and family into purchasing plants for you by making a gift list that includes cars, mink coats, diamonds, personal airplanes…or a plant. Usually, they will choose the plant. 

A thrifty savings plan includes a compost heap. A proper compost heap will consume all parts of your life. You will send your spouse to work with a bucket to collect coffee grounds and fruit peelings from the office break room. You will begin asking grocers what they are going to do with that spoiled vegetable. You will become a tyrant at home, snapping at whoever throws a compost-able item into the trash. Leaves from your neighbors' yards, and used pots with old potting soil will become curbside treasures. Another money saving technique is to use any conceivable container as a potential planter. That roasting pan makes an excellent seed flat, and the urn with your grammas ashes WOULD be more attractive with a plant in it, don't you think?

backpain2.jpg (126x225 -- 6144 bytes)4.  Be health conscious. The uninitiated gardener probably thinks of gardening as a relaxing, gentle occupation. The true crazy gardener knows better. The crazed gardener is not a person who can spend hours stretching, walking and doing aerobics when there are weeds to be pulled, mulch to be moved, or pots to be planted. So the exercises must be worked into our daily routine. Try placing your gardening tools or your iced tea JUST out of reach to help promote stretching. Who needs a rowing machine when you can hoe your entire veggie patch? 

Mowing a lawn can be a good walking exercise until the lawn is replaced with gardens. For aerobics, try going to the Labor Day sale at the biggest nursery in your area. Wait until there is only ONE of the plants you want and then try sprinting to the table before another customer grabs it. For strength training try watering all your plants before moving the pots, and use only terra cotta or cement pots, rather than the lightweight plastic replacements. Weeding, of course, is the ultimate bending exercise. 

The crazy gardeners exercise regimen usually consists of working like a madman from early Saturday morning till after dark, and recuperating for the rest of the week. The health conscious gardener will also be aware of other health factors, such as sun, allergies, and dangers lurking in the soil. They will be aware of these factors as they slather on sunburn cream, take benadryl pills and apply bandages and calamine to mysterious wounds and rashes that have appeared in odd places.

pigjumpingarden.jpg (150x189 -- 4909 bytes)5.  Enjoy! Sometimes the Crazed Gardener forgets to stop and enjoy the garden, leading lives rather like Rabbit, on the Winnie the Pooh series. Compulsively gardening and then having minor strokes when dogs, weather, kids or other natural (and unnatural) disasters happen. This can get a gardener down over time, especially if the gardener has forgotten to sit back and enjoy the garden, complete with weeds, bugs, empty spots, that bed to be filled, and mole holes poking up here and there. So make sure that at some point each day, you can sit or stand in the garden and take pleasure in the minor, individual triumphs of the garden. 

All gardens are a work in progress, and even the Garden of Eden was prey to a nasty pest problem…so don’t expect perfection in your garden. Instead see perfection in the little things…the first bloom of spring, or the perfect fall color on a fallen leaf. Spend time examining the tiny bits of the yard and never mind about what folks think of you standing stationary in a stork like pose in your jimmies, staring into the shrubs. If you’ve followed the previous advice in the column, they already think you’re nuts…so just relax, enjoy, and feel free to send in some of YOUR crazy gardening moments to share.

Sincerely, Witch Hazel

Home ] Up ] [ Gardeners Anonymous ] Beyond Manure ] Suck it Up - Phytoremediation ] Soil Without Toil ] Cover Crops ]

[ Home ]  Site Map ]  Articles ]  The Garden ]  At Home ]  [ Message Boards Mirtha Stuwort ]  facebook ]

Copyright Our Garden Gang 1999-2016