Please sit down before you read this and make sure you are prepared for a bit of a shock.
Some people don’t like to garden.
Breathe now. Clutch a few seed packets in your hand. Look out upon your garden full of flowers to re-center yourself, then take a moment if you must to read that again, to reflect on what it means. Or avert your eyes and go on to some other post and forget you ever read that.
I realize it is entirely possible that some of you already knew this about people, and actually accept and like, even love, people who don’t like to garden. These people who don’t like to garden could be in your own family, in your neighborhood, or at work. You may pass them everyday in the hallway or at the local Starbucks and not know this about them. They look quite normal.
Many of these non-gardening people actual do like nice gardens and enjoy strolling down a garden path, admiring the flowers. But they often don’t care one wit what the flowers are called or how they might grow them in their own garden.
“Their own garden” might actually be a bit of a stretch when referring to the plants that might be around their house. Truth be told, they probably paid good money to have others create a garden for them. But we all know that they are merely leasing that garden. To own a garden, you have to garden in it.
We also know that the fact that that these people don’t like to garden does not make them “bad” people. They can be and often are people who contribute positively to society as a whole, just not by gardening.
Their reasons for why they don’t like to garden may seem irrational and trite to those of us who love to garden, or it may stem from some deeply rooted fears related to soil, plants, or an honest day’s work in the hot sun. (By the way, the fear of gardening is called kipourikosphobia, says I.)
Whatever their reasons for not gardening, it is not worth arguing with them about it. Nor it is worth trying to force them to garden. If you make them go out and work in a garden, and then foolishly try to garden along side them, you, and they, will both be miserable.
It is really for the best to let the non-gardener stay inside or sit quietly in a chair and watch as you, the gardener, busily, happily tend to the garden. Even if the work in the garden is hard and physically demanding, and it will be sometimes, keep a smile on your face, wear your best gardening hat and your special gardening shoes, hum a happy tune, and at all times make that non-gardener think they are missing out on the greatest experience of their life.
Because they are.
I just went out and hugged my dracena, lamented with the veggies and sat in quiet reflection with the bromeliads. But I will battle on. Together we can beat this apathy.
Then again, my wife can't understand why I don't get excited about the big shiny six burner stainless steel stove she recently purchased.
I tried to water and prune it, but she just got cranky.
Oh yes, Carol! It is so difficult when it is a member of your own family, since you spend quality time with them, even if they are only related by marriage. My dear sweet sister in law is like that. She has tried to garden, in the small condo space, and gave up. I even gave her plants and garden tools to no avail. I keep thinking maybe later in life she will warm to the soil, when she has more time after retiring, that keeps me from losing hope. 🙂
Susan Tomlinson says
More garden for the rest of us…
I have met a few and it shows outside in their gardens. Two told me that they don't like gardens and are afraid of bugs and toads, so they don't do anything at all in their gardens. Their husbands will take care of it. I realize that it was fruitless trying to nurture a friendship with them.
I can't live a live forever cooped up in a house. That is no life for me. Gardeners are very special people, they are kind and always willing to share, they love to show off their work and they are smiling most of the time. They are happy folks!
It is hard to believe. In fact, when people ask me questions about plants…"it's got green leaves and these little pink flowers…" I'm astounded they don't know a single local plant name. They should be forced to go to plant school!
Lisa at Greenbow says
It is always a jolt when taking someone through the garden and the first thing out of their mouth is "eeewwwww, I don't see how you do all this work". I wish the non gardeners could at least get out an "oh that is a pretty plant" before going on the defense. Needless to say the garden tour is cut short. Ha.. I have a non gardening friend that loves to come and sit in the Casa to admire the surrounds. Of course a martini always soothes the nerves. tee hee
What is really special is when a family member who doesn't garden still helps you with some part of the garden that you can't manage yourself, like removing sod quickly or getting an especially large rock out of the ground.
My husband claims that the "gardening" was beat out of him at a young age when he had to dig potatoes, weed, rogue beans and detassel corn back on the farm in Illinois.
I guess I feel sorry for him.
I'm surrounded by non-gardening family and friends who look at me strangely when I say I really want a 'Pinky Winky.' But I am very tolerant of them, because I was once the same way. Maybe they will see the light one day as I did.
Dee Langston says
The hardest thing is to learn to not have your feelings hurt when family members afflicted with garden apathy don't really care about your garden blog…
Don't give up hope – I used to be one! Am now a total convert. Passionate about plants, growing them from seed, taking cuttings, learning about them, arranging them in the borders, all of it.
Sweet Home and Garden Carolina says
One of my best clients didn't like gardening but bless her heart she absolutely adored the one I created for her. What irks me are people who not only don't like to garden but also don't care how their landscape looks.
I still can't quite believe my mom doesn't like to garden. It's so enjoyable, relaxing, and awesome. Not a chore at all.
There is no accounting for taste! My mom hated all things outdoors~She never understood how all her children loved to garden. gail
Pam's English Garden says
Dear Carol, I just feel so blessed that I don't have kipourikosphobia! Pam x
Since I hurt my arm recently, I am having to rely on my non-gardening-enthusiast husband to do a few things for me. After pruning some shrubs today he came away with bloody arms, a bunch of mosquito bites, and a sweaty shirt. I don't think he was won over today. He'd rather go chase a little white ball around on a golf course and then lament his score the rest of the day. Personally I think gardening is a whole lot more rewarding, but he doesn't see it quite that way. I think he wants my arm healed more than I do now!
I just read an article on "artificial outdoor plants". The basis for using them appeared to be that some people have MORE IMPORTANT things to do. And all I could think was "WHAT would be more important than gardening???"!
Kylee Baumle says
I'm saying this vewy, vewy quietly, lest my dirty little secret get out…I used to hate gardening. It took me 47 years to come to my senses.
My non-gardening brother was sent to South Africa for business last week and toured the Cape of Good Hope during what is now their spring. He says he took pictures, but of what? Probably not plants. To say such landscape is wasted on nongardeners would be untrue and mean, but when feeling deprived I get cranky…
Who are these people, and what can we do about it? NOT LIKE GARDENING? How is that even possible?
Tamara Jansen says
LOL! It's a good thing we have a landscaper for our 4 greenhouse properties because she keeps things looking great. I may sell millions of dollars worth of bedding plants every springs but I am a TERRIBLE garden 🙂
Kate (daisygil_io) says
I know what you mean. Too many people in my close circle of friends look at my like I'm insane when I tell them how much I enjoy weeding and getting my hands dirty. Ah well, at least they are good at bringing me lemonade while I'm out in the garden. 😉