They are two of the best tools in my gardening tool box. Engineering marvels, really.
I can grasp, grip, pull, pinch, hold, scoop, smooth, and pat with them, and I never lose them in the garden.
They are my hands.
And by a gardeners’s hands, you can know the gardener.
Which type of gardener are you?
1. The “point with the hand and tell someone else where to plant” gardener.
I think of Katharine S. White when I think of this kind of gardener. I believe she always had someone else do the actually gardening for her, though she herself had her own ideas on what to plant. There is a picture of her in the book, Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence — Friendship in Letters, and part of the caption is “she did not ‘dress down’ to the garden”.
I would guess she didn’t get her hands terribly dirty either, but perhaps just used them to manipulate some scissors or small pruners to gather a few flowers to enjoy indoors.
2. The “I always wear gloves to protect my hands when I garden no matter what” gardener.
This type of gardener skips those tasks that can’t be done with gloves on, like seed sowing. She (or I suppose it could be he) just doesn’t do gardening work that is best done bare-handed. She (or he) may have spent as much on a manicure or maybe even faux nails in a given week as on plant material in the garden.
3. The “I started out with gloves, now where are they” gardener.
You know how sometimes you start out with gloves on, and then you have to take them off because you just can’t do what you need to do with gloves between your hands and the plant or seed or dirt or whatever? And then you move on and keep gardening and see something that you should wear gloves to do, like pull some thistle, and that’s when you realize your gloves are clear over by another flower bed and your hands are now dirty. That’s this type of gardener.
4. The “gloves are the exception, not the rule” gardener.
This type of gardener generally prefers to work barehanded and only wears gloves when absolutely necessary, like when thorns or poison ivy are involved. They accept that their hands are going to get dirty, and figure they can wash them up just as well as they can wash up a pair of gloves.
Regardless of our feelings regarding gardening gloves, we should all make sure to take care of our hands, because they really are our best gardening tools.
By your hands, what type of gardener are you?
Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win a copy of Nightshade by Susan Wittig Albert, if you haven’t done so already. But you’d better hurry! The drawing here at May Dreams Gardens closes at noon on March 27, 2008. Tomorrow someone is going to win a book, maybe it is you?!
By my hands, I am a Number 3 type gardener, with some tendencies to Number 4. That’s my hand in the picture above, after I had planted all the violas and panises in containers last Friday, bare-handed, obviously.