Gardening Addiction?


Dogwood in all of its November glory.

Dogwood in all of its November glory

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.

Do I need 50 new shrubs?

Do I need 50 new shrubs?

No, not drug addiction, or alcoholism; but gardening addiction.

Newly planted basket ready for whatever winter brings.

Newly planted basket ready for whatever winter brings

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.


Plants coming in for winter will allow me to get that "sweet moist soil" aroma without heading outside.

Plants coming in for winter will allow me to get that “sweet moist soil” aroma without heading outside.

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:

October 26 potting 019 

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

One is never enough

One is never enough.

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

Last year's new Camellia has settled in nicely.

Last year’s new Camellia has settled in nicely.

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.

I admit it:  I"m addicted to beauty

I admit it: I”m addicted to beauty.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

November first

November first


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “Gardening Addiction?

  1. Theo

    I’m 29 from the uk and since entering the 3rd summer in my home as an owner I feel addicted, the first two years were spent gutting my old garden to give it my shape and now with a few survivors of the old garden I’m well on my way, ive spent my fare share on young plants, most being hardy tropicals and now I’m eager to see my garden mature, the wife thinks I’m nuts but I never realised I had such a love for the garden, I even went on a holiday and took a detour to visit a nursery filling my boot for the journey home. i can now spend hours while im not at work thinking of new ideas for my garden

    • It is totally addictive once those plans begin to come to life 😉 I hope your wife appreciates your sense of beauty and desire to make your home even more special. Gardening is a lifetime journey. There is always more to learn, and more to appreciate. Thank you for visiting today 😉 Best wishes, WG

  2. Jessica Davis

    Loved these musings ! I googled gardening addiction and this popped up . Glad to see im not alone . With spring upon me my obsession has reared its head again and I answered yes to all above questions , haha

    • Thank you for visiting, Jessica 😉 What a wonderful addiction to share! My husband is infinitely patient with me- with spring upon us, I’ve been making the rounds of garden centers and spending every afternoon outside helping with the transition to spring. So many bags of shredded leaves!!! Best wishes, WG

  3. An addiction that cannot be cured no matter how hard you try!

  4. farseems

    Meant ….a better place if there ……

  5. farseems

    The best kind of addiction. What could be better. The world would be a vmbetter olace if thheie were more “addicts” if this kind. Keep it going I would say.

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