What Kind of Gardener Are You? (Part 1)

A recent trip to visit my Mom in Southern New Jersey has provoked these two posts (today’s and Monday’s).  Mom will readily admit she’s not much of a gardener.

And her conditions are not the best either.  She gardens on sand on the edge of the pine barrens.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like plants and flowers.  What she doesn’t like is anything to do with them.  She just likes to look at the from inside the windows of her home.

So short of planting the “indestructible” (i.e. plastic) plants that some folks have resorted to, my sister and I have tried to come up with some fool-proof solutions for her.  Some have worked better than others.

Despite the climate and location, hydrangeas are a no-go.  This is not Cape Cod. I’ve seen more hydrangeas die than I care to think of, even the so-called indestructible ones like Endless Summer.  It’s painful.

And it’s not for lack of good coaching about compost, soaker hoses and mulch.  She does have an unfortunate addiction to that dyed mulch but I doubt that alone is killing there.  There’d be a lot more dead hydrangeas out there if that were the case.

One spectacular success has been heuchera.  Quite frankly, I wish my heuchera grew this beautifully. She even had an invasion of cicadas that feasted on one this summer and it still came roaring back.

Her geranium always puts anything I try to do to shame–far more sun and heat (which they adore) than I can give mine.

And she can grow crape myrtle.  I have zone envy over that.  But of course she envies my hydrangeas.  So I guess it’s all even.

What I’m getting at here is that it really helps to know, before you go spending time, money and effort plunking plants willy nilly into the ground every year, what sort of gardener you are and what your conditions are.

Are you like my Mom? Really hands off, so much so that the extent of your involvement with the landscape might be turning on a soaker hose or watering a container?  Notice the “lawn?”  It’s stones.

Are you like me with my 100+ houseplants because I can’t bear to be separated from the garden during the non-growing season.

Ideally you’re somewhere in between and you know–even roughly–where you fall.  It will save you time, money and heartbreak just knowing that one fact.

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