As I’ve already admitted, I have a serious addiction. My friend Dan would tell me to introduce myself thusly, “Hi. I’m Troy Marden and I’m a hortiholic.” Well, it’s true. This addiction has been with me for more than 30 years and seems to have no interest in releasing its icy grip. Some friends suggested that perhaps I should go to meetings. “I do,” I replied. “Garden clubs, orchid societies, rose societies, herb societies, Perennial Plant Association, Garden Writers, lawn and garden shows, flower shows, bromeliad societies, cactus societies, tropical plant societies, open gardens…..” I go to meetings all the time! Anything to feed the beast!
Others have suggested I should take up another hobby–something to redirect my attention elsewhere. “Perhaps you should read more,” tried one friend. I READ!!! Thank-you-very-much!
The Forest Farm catalog is right here next to the computer! I type and read at the same time. Not only do I READ, I multitask! Perhaps you should read more…..hmmph! On the sofa there are catalogs from Plant Delights, Heronswood, Greenhouse Growers Supply, Tomato Growers Supply and a dreeeaaaamy plant list from Sean Hogan at Cistus Nursery. On the night stand are Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Tennessee Gardener, The English Garden, and at least six special interest publications–container gardening, perennials, planting combinations–you name it. And next to the commode are the back issues! Perhaps you should read more…..hmmph!
It has become a running joke amongst my friends–my little plant addiction. For the past 4 years I’ve been living in a rental situation where I refused to actually plant any of my prized plants–children, actually–into the ground in a place that I would not be residing permanently. So, they’re all in pots. “All of them?” you ask. Yes, all of them. Over 200 as of last week’s inventory and this number swells to over 300 during the summer months when I have all of the annuals and tropicals thrown into the mix. Some I overwinter and some I don’t.
“Oh, are you starting a nursery?” one unsuspecting visitor asked. No, I’m not, thank you. They’re mine. ALL MINE!!! Don’t touch them. And don’t even THINK about taking those tiny little scissors out of your pocket that you think I can’t see and try to sneak cuttings! I have eyes in the back of my head–with X-ray vision. I can spot one missing cutting off of a 6-foot shrub at 100 paces, so don’t even try. We addicts can become highly irrational when our babies are threatened–or worse, dismembered. Highly irrational.
And if you want to know what something is, ask me. Take me over to the plant and ask me. More than likely you will wish you had not asked, after a 15-minute diatribe on its finest points and the fact that I have done so incredibly well with it because, really, it’s a bitch to grow. Do not, however, break off a piece of it and carry it up to me for its proper identification. Remember, you’ve already been warned–highly irrational–totally unpredictable behavior when an addict is approached with a severed piece of one of his (or her) prize possessions. How would you feel if someone asked you which one of your children this belonged to and held up a foot? Well? Hmmmmm??? Highly irrational.
I know there are hundreds, even thousands of you out there. We’re all in the same boat, really–we gardeners. It starts out very innocently and before you know it your kids are eating cold cereal for dinner because mommy is in the garden until dark every night. Sometimes mommy is in the garden until after dark, having moved from the darker parts of the garden to the bed under the streetlight where there is enough light to continue weeding. You know it’s true. I say stand up and embrace your demons! “Hi. I’m Troy and I’m a……..” Gardening is such good therapy!