As we drove to the garden center this morning our conversation about the beautiful fall colors somehow got around to a much more touchy topic: Addiction.
No, not drug addiction, or alcoholism; but gardening addiction.
I must have crossed some line in the dirt in the last few weeks. Maybe keeping this blog has pushed me over the very fine edge from hobby gardening to something much more serious, and seriously disturbing from my family’s point of view.
There was that comment about how happy I am with smudges of dirt on my face the other day at my parents’ house. I should have caught the glances passed behind my back. But, I was busy digging out seedling shrubs and wasn’t paying much attention at the time.
It’s November first. Perhaps in most households the gardening season is over for the year. Thoughts should be turning to Thanksgiving plans and Christmas shopping. Instead, I was headed to the garden center, again, for another bag of potting soil. (Something happened to the last one, which was supposed to hold me until spring.) Well, to be perfectly honest, potting soil and a tray of snaps to bloom their heads off in the bed I began re-working yesterday. I stopped short of picking up another Camellia.
It gets worse. I lifted the flowering Mexican Sage out of its vase on the mantel this afternoon and cut it into bits for cuttings. Dipped in rooting hormone and flowers cut off, the stems are settling into their pots on the deck. Maybe by spring they’ll each have roots, and I can start a new section of the butterfly garden for them…
I’m a little nervous, actually. I don’t know much about psychiatry. I was always digging into the applied part of psychology to work with my teenaged students. I know much more about how to get a learning disabled student to write a poem than I do about spotting the signs of addiction. But I’ll give it a try.
Here is my list of the top 15 signs which might indicate an addiction to gardening:
You might be a gardening addict…
1. If a portion of each month’s budget goes to purchase plants and supplies
2. If the “planting” is never quite finished
3. If winter is spent reading more plant catalogs and gardening books than novels
4. If plants get watered before breakfast gets served
5. If something blooms in your garden every single day of the year
6. If you’d rather see photos of someone’s garden than of their dog or child
7. If you can name most every plant growing in your garden- and in your friends’ gardens
8. If vacations are built around gardens (and garden centers) you want to visit
9. If you find yourself assisting the other customers at the garden center when the staff is busy
10. If you’re happiest when your hands are covered in dirt
11. If the back of your car is always covered in plastic sheeting and potting soil
12. If you never stay within the “planting boundaries” to which you previously agreed
13. If your doodles are mostly planting schemes
14. If you always carry a pair of pruners when you head outside
15. If your friends know you will always send them home with a fresh supply of seeds and cuttings
With winter coming on, there may be a chance to break some of my worst habits. Or not. The truth is, we’re just moving the pots inside the house a little at a time. In winter I can get my fix of “moist Earth smell” without so much as putting on a jacket.
There are worse things than putting one’s hands in the dirt and making things grow. I just hope that if my family plans an intervention, we do it outside… in the garden.
All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013