The Plant Doctor? These gardeners like to rescue plants and nurse them to health. But their own plants are rarely in need of their skills, because they are so knowledgeable about what will do well where – how and why.” HA! I am often the recipient (read assumed Hospital person of such plants) — the reason they are in my garden, is because they were given to me, and because you can bring in back to life.

“They will be happy with you, because you can grow them well!” They just don’t realize how twisted the Plant person can become. The old cemetery joke comes to mind. “They just can’t wait to get in.” Some plants just deserve a quick and final burial. The Trickster Gardener!

HHMN? wouldn’t that “gifted and variegated” Leucothoe just set off those Hosta’s. “Well grown and well chosen.”  Every person, even Plant person’s have a different vision of beauty. Personally I might have an intense dislike to Hosta’s. To me, they along with Rhodies resemble, well … eczema. Like green moundy pustules of greenness. I deliberately go out of my way to interject something that makes them look even more ghastly.  In goes the Lamium mac. Chequers, adding “Sophistication.”  This ups the ghastly combination to a new level. “…. so the garden is always gorgeous.”  Eye popping yes — gorgeous no. I love to sell these combinations off to finger pinching garden writers like Ann Loveluck.

I also admit to being the Plant Historian.  I often interject things just because of their history — this can lead to a very messy statement. “These gardeners treasure  plants because they relate in bloodthirsty glee to adventures long past.  Their gardens may look somewhat hodge-podged – but they are always interesting.” True! Plants such as “davidii, fremontia, lewisia and douglasia” are must have’ms to me!

A lovely North American alpine closely related to Androsace. Unlike the latter Douglasia’s can form larger mats rather than distinct rounded mounds. One to 3″ stems are topped by a small cluster of pink to magenta flowers. Scree conditions are best. Good for the rockery or alpine trough.
I want to say that I garden because of the learning process. Many gardeners do so because they want results. Sometimes it is competitiveness, sometimes it is a statement of ego. The richness of my garden, is not derived from the results, but from the workability of a beautiful thing … a One-ness with the plants and not the checking account.  I believe the plant person’s garden is also an investigation of oneself. You get to know yourself best by immersing yourself in something you can learn from. I just bought ten new garden books — to learn more about Orchids and Bonsai, as well as COLOR. The best I can say is that I am ever learning another part of myself, just like my garden. My garden can change at any time, at any age … just like this hybrid collaboration just called me on.

Sometimes I sucker wildly and go all weedy. Spindly even — seeing that I realize I have to get going, work on myself. Plant that orange — be happier. The “Pay Attention to Me” would be the gardener I would most like to identify with.

The “Always Right Plant Person.” Always knowing where to place things — well that’s one thing I always test.  I know certain things – the “I aught a to it this ways.” Nope. I often test things just to see if I can tweak them to work in a different way. Gaultheria’s used to be one of my favorites. Basically they don’t like the full sun. They really prefer some shade, but I would plant them, north, south, east and west in all kinds of different location, to see the effect of the environment on the plant. It was absolutely surprising how some just sort of existed and others just went crazy.  I get the greatest joy out of finding that out. Things like that, I still do. — The kid who experimented with giberillic acid and magnetic fields on his cactus seeds.
So color me a hybrid between the “Mad Scientist” and the “Pay Attention to ME” gardener!

Funny how aging creates certain edits. Having come down with a disability I must now view myself as the “Lazy Gardener.” These days I also thaw out memories of a friend who would haunt the garbage bins of Costco or local nurseries.
“Dumpsters” garden was nearly entirely created from these recyclables, including boulders, broken concrete from local projects. As a “know it all nurseryman” I warned him about the disease hazards. It was to no avail and the garden thrived despite all my cautions.

herb senft
 I would also be remiss in not mentioning Marilynn, a local “Master Gardener” who’s garden was full of whimsey and creative flotsam. The flying vulture made of garden rakes was only a minuscule part of all the funny things I found in her garden. My valuation of her garden was not as a Master Gardener but of a creative and funny gardener.

Less so forgiving am I of the Finger-Pinching Gardener who stole ideas or even plants from ones own designs. This  includes garden writers who plagiarized from others and then sold themselves off as being wise and creative.  The Ann Loveluck gardener. Finger pinching is of course augmented any time you invite people into your garden. Skyline Nursery often found people coming with baggies and clippers to take cuttings or seed without my permission and the two worst examples were:

Mary Ann who had the ovaries to swipe seeds from a 200 yr. old tree Peony. The source was the Beijing Botanical gardens. This was at a time when China was still very Red and not too friendly.
My own example was when I gave permission to take cuttings from a rare Ceanothus. No big thing – until one morning a truck pulls next to the victim and I hear the dropping of a pickax and pry bar. They had decided to split it in half. And so it goes.

ninja squirrel

Medical footnote:
I should add that I personally fit into the Mad Scientist slot or the Historian mode and sometimes I even became a Trickster Gardener.

Handicapped Gardener should have been added. I added this postscript after reading another gardeners neurological plight.

I was unable to post a private reply to this person whose neurological nightmare reminded me of my own On my sixtieth, I came down with something inexplicable. Sadly, I had no insurance of coverage for care and it took six months before I even got referred to a neurologist. For those six months I could barely move or walk or even sleep for the pain. Finally, it got better … but I lost the use of my left arm. Dealing with the doctors was a nightmare as it does now for some present non-related crap.Near all my plants died, cacti, the nursery and all my thirty years of bonsai. It took some two years for me to be able to move freely again, albeit one armed now. End of jobs, work and all that.Got things together, then double hernias — one is not repairable. “LIVE WITH IT … and wear a truss.”  Medical assistance is even worse today, as most of the doctors will not treat a Medicare patient and God Forbid one who has a co-pay for State medical DSHS assistance. *Trying to find a doctor is a futile endeavor in my County for the first thing the office manager asks  is –”  Do you take DSHS assistance?* If so they turn you down flat. Obama care is much the same, only one doctor in my County is willing to take them as new patients. You are forced to drive over a hundred miles away to find one.

 My work ability has once again been truncated and I am just waiting for the third shoe to drop.

Medical care in this country just sucks! Most of the doctors have opted out of the system entirely, charging a membership fee to visit their now private clinics. You pay every month whether you are sick or not and they do not have to deal with Medicare, DSHS or Obamacare. 🙁

(C) Herb Senft 2008- 2015

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