Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Generosity of Gardeners

I met her at a Las Vegas nightclub, of all places.  We chatted over cocktails - and found out that, lo and behold, we were both gardeners.  She leaned over to me.  "Would you like some plants?" she asked.  "I have a bunch I can give you."

Free plants?  Somehow even I had found my drug of choice in Las Vegas!


As it turns out, the woman I had met was the wife of one of Mr. Red House's coworkers, who were in the middle of downsizing and moving to a condo.  The wife was a gardener and one of the nicest people I've met, and she was thrilled to find someone to take some of her plants.  When we got back to Massachusetts I came over and we dug dozens if not hundreds of plants.

a newly acquired Dianthus
I haven't had much time to be online lately as I have been planting non-stop the past few weeks.

Lanium, one of my newly aquired plants
I've been planting those plants,
free plants I picked up after working the local Garden Club plant sale,
other plants given to me by generous older club members with overflowing gardens,
and my own seedlings.

It's been a busy spring!

plants still awaiting planting
People probably think I spend a fortune on my garden (and Mr. Red House would probably agree with them), but they don't know just how generous the gardening community is.  Gardeners are a sharing bunch, and I highly recommend joining a local gardening club if available.

My hellstrip is filled almost exclusively with free plants or plants from seeds.
Members with mature plants will often share seeds and cuttings, and gardeners are always giving away divisions of plants that are growing too crowded in their garden. They don't call them 'pass-along plants' for nothing!

Bleeding hearts passed along to me
I would say about 80% of my plants were given to me by other gardeners or grown from cuttings or seeds.  (That percentage would be higher if it weren't for my bulb addiction...)

Bee visiting Baptisia that was passed along to me
as a little seedling by another gardener a couple years ago.
I love getting 'pass-a-long plants', and these plants are living reminders of friends and kindred spirits who so thoughtfully share bounty from their garden.

Dianthus grown from seeds given to me by my Mother-in-law from her plants
Gardeners are also generous with sharing their experience and advice with how best to grow their plants.  Older gardeners are an invaluable resource, especially for those of us who are unfamiliar with local challenges.

just one of the local 'challenges'
I love being part of the online gardening community as well, even though I haven't had much time for it this spring.  I learn so much, and get so many great ideas!

I got this idea of filling my kids' out-grown rainboots with plants somewhere online.
Now if anyone could give me some tips for how to multitask or be in two places at once, I would be very grateful.  I still have the weeding to do...

A striking iris passed along to me
...and the watering, and the edging, and the mulching, and the mowing...


It might be a busy summer in the garden, too!

Happy summer and happy gardening,
and thank you to all those generous gardeners out there!

32 comments:

  1. Aw, that's great! Your garden is growing by leaps and bounds! Isn't this the most insane time of year? Everything is happening far too fast, and there's so much to do. I love the boots, what a cute idea!

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    1. Thank you! It's growing so fast. It's great to see some of the things that we planted when we moved in three years ago really take off. It's true that the first year plants sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap!

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  2. Your hellstrip is beautiful and I love the little boots. I wish I had some tips for you but I don't. Spring is always a busy time. All I can say is: enjoy!

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  3. We live in deer country and I make my own deer off which works quit well. It consists of 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cooking oil or liquid dishwashing soap. Combine all in a plastic 1 gallon milk jug and fill with warm water. Let sit for 24 hours. I just sprinkle on my plants or the parameter of my garden. Re-sprinkle after a rain. Yes, it does smell but the odor dissipates quickly.

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    1. Thanks! I'll have to try that out! There are certain plants that I spray occasionally with a deer deterrent that I bought, but it would be much cheaper to just make my own - and then I would spray more often and probably have less deer damage!

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  4. Wonderful for both of you to have pass along plants. It is hard to leave a garden filled with plants you love, and wonder, if the new people will really be gardeners??

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    1. The gardener that I got so many plants from knew that the people who bought her house weren't really gardeners. She took a few special plants, and then gave me so many. Having left my last garden, I know how hard it is, though!

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  5. Oh yes, gardeners are indeed kind and generous folk! I enjoy swapping plants, too. If we lived closer to each other, it would be fun to trade a few plants. ;-)

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  6. Edging and mowing seem like endless tasks, but I think it's possible for mature gardens to require relatively little watering, weeding or mulching - provided that you plant the garden thickly and use mainly natives or well-adapted drought tolerant perennials.

    Here in Tennessee, we've hit 90 degrees at least 15 times in the past couple of months and we've been in drought conditions (7 inch rain deficit since April) and yet I think I've only watered three times so far this year.

    (I probably could have skipped the watering altogether and most plants would have survived, but I like the plants to flourish and look nice, so I don't mind dragging a hose around the garden once or twice a month.)

    Love that you've gotten so many passalong plants for your beautiful garden. I haven't received many such plants, but I frequently share seeds and volunteer seedlings with one of my neighbors who is also enthusiastic about gardening. It's a joy to be able to give.

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    1. I am definitely looking forward to when my gardens are full enough that the weeds are mostly crowded out and there is no need to mulch! My hellstrips are almost there - they are so full and made up of tough plants so they need very little care. Hopefully with the the addition of these new plants, it won't be too long before rest of the garden won't need as much care. It is impressive how tough some of these native plants can be. I hope you get some rain soon though!

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  7. Funny how we meet gardeners wherever we go! How lovely to be the recipient of so many pass-a-long plants. I am sure your friend is thrilled to know her tenderly cared for plants are going to a good home. I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one who as been AWOL from blogging. Time to catch up..

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    1. It is rather funny that when there is the most material to blog about, we gardeners are too busy gardening! Maybe in winter I should prewrite some stuff for the next year. :)

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  8. I love, love the rainboots planters! I saw some kids' Crocs somewhere that were planted with tiny plants and asked my daughter-in-law to give me my grandson's Crocs when he had outgrown them. I'm still waiting:) But so much sweeter when they're your own kids' boots! I totally agree about the generosity of gardeners. Since I joined my local MG group I have gotten so many divisions from other gardeners that I don't spend nearly as much on plants as I used to.

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    1. Thank you! I think online somewhere I saw the idea of boots being used as planters and hung on a fence. I tried to hang mine on my fence, but it didn't look as good as my fence is a split rail. I love them just sitting there in the garden, though, and they remind me of just how little my girls' feet used to be!

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  9. Indie, that's one of the nicest things about being a gardener -- meeting all the lovely people who garden too (and the free plants are just a bonus!). Your Sweet Williams are so beautiful -- they're one of my favorites. I hope you have enough of your new finds planted now that you can relax and enjoy your beautiful, flower-filled gardens. Best, -Beth

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    1. Gardeners are some of the nicest people! I'm excited to get to the relaxing in the garden part - hopefully before too long :)

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  10. I am so happy for you -- getting all those free plants from the woman who is moving to a condo. However, I am heart-broken for her. How will she live without a garden?

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    1. I know! She will have a small space for a little garden so she's taking her favorite plants. I'm not sure I could be able to cram all the plants I wanted in a little condo garden, though!

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  11. Gardeners do make friends more easily than most, I've found. Not only do you have plants or vegetables to share, but right off, you have something to talk about!

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    1. Exactly! It is a big help for an introverted person such as myself :)

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  12. Wow!
    Beautifully flowered garden.
    A flower in the shoes? great idea.
    Greetings.

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  13. I have met so many nice gardeners online – and some of them I have met in real life too and they are just as nice in real life :-) I like to do plant swapping too, and since I am having a rather mature garden I keep splitting plants and taking cuttings all the time so most people who visit me walks home with a carrier bag full of plants. I have also done plant swapping by post and I absolutely love the idea that plants I have produced now have homes all over Britain, from Isle of Wight in the south to Edinburgh in the north.

    So happy you have got all the new plants for your garden, just keep planting, but with big enough pots they can survive a long time in pots and containers. I know how it is with lots of pots waiting to get in the ground, I still have plants waiting for me from my previous garden. I don’t think they all will be planted this summer either!

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    1. That is so nice you give away so many divisions and cuttings! That is a really neat thought that your baby plants could be all over the country now. I finally have all the plants that were given to me planted. Now onto my own seedlings...

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  14. If you ever get over my way you can dig for garden treasure here!

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    1. Oh, that is so nice of you! It would be lovely just to see your garden!

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  15. Wow! Lucky you. I'm clearly hanging out with the wrong people. Enjoy your new plants x

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    1. Haha! Most of my friends are not gardeners, so I get really excited when I do meet some gardeners. Joining a local garden club really helped - rarely do I visit a fellow local gardener without coming back with some plants!

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  16. Gardeners are definitely a generous group! I have loads of plants from garden friends, too. Your garden looks wonderful!

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    1. Thank you! It's hitting peak season now, where I can really enjoy all the blooms - the fruits of my labor :)

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