Friday, January 13, 2012

The OED of Me

Have you ever had a conversation only to realize mid-discussion that even though the topic may be the same, you and the other person have such divergent perspectives you might as well be talking in Swahili while they reply in Swedish? Every spring I end up in bizarre conversations about gardening with total strangers at our local nurseries. I've finally realized that my concept of gardening is often quite different than that of the person next me.

In order to make these gardening translation sessions easier, I've decided to create my own gardening version of the Oxford English Dictionary, or the OED to word nerds the world over. An abbreviated definition might read something like this:

Gardening (verb)

1. A highly cerebral activity involving complex creative and critical thinking combined with manual labor. I may smell like a goat after working in the garden all day but my brain is alternately soothed and stimulated and I've burned off my morning bagel.


This phlox seedling is the possible love child between 'David' and 'Laura'.

2. An excellent form of exercise that makes a gym membership moot. I once described my method of exercise as Extreme Dogwalking and Olympic Gardening. The person next to me laughed. Apparently they've never hauled 50+ bags of compost into the garden or dug holes in clay.


This is one of the sunniest areas in my garden. The top half of this bed was significantly redesigned in my garden makeover, while the bottom only needed minor tweaking. A few stems of a giant trumpet vine can be seen at the top right. The daylilies were moved to a moister spot.

3. An art form in which the gardener attempts to recreate the masterpieces already in nature and gratefully accepts accolades given by butterflies.


Eastern Tiger swallowtail butterfly at the 'Laura' phlox

4. A synonym for relaxing, infuriating, stimulating, satisfying


'Pilgrim' oregano thrived in a pot along side a rose known as The Imposter since it wasn't the variety I had ordered.  

5. A form of therapy more beneficial than standing in the kitchen in your underwear screaming words that rhyme with truck. Although, that has been known to be helpful.....


Marguerites and carrots


I think these short monarda are 'Coral Reef'. They bloom eagerly in my late spring garden. 

37 comments:

  1. Casa Mariposa, I think we pretty much speak the same (gardening) language and wouldn't have too much of a communication problem ;-)! I love the shots from your yard. I would like to try if phlox will grow in my garden, too, yours are so pretty. Have a nice weekend!
    Christina

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    1. Have fun growing phlox! It looks great with roses and blooms all summer.

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  2. Beautifully said! I couldn't agree more. We avid (rabid) gardeners are a different breed of humanity. There is nothing as satisfying as a morning spent working up a serious sweat in one's garden. True gardeners intuitively understand that!

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    1. So true! But I have to admit that the same nausea some reserve for any gardening that involves more than watering petunias, I save for sports. Unless my kids are on the court/field, I couldn't care less. My husband put a magnet on my car of his favorite team and I took it off and hid it. I told him I'm Switzerland. :o)

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  3. Olympic Gardening! That's what I do too, and when my coworkers gifted me some little cotton gloves and a pink trowel, because they knew I was a "gardener", I was mystified how I would use them to move boulders, haul mulch, redistribute the surface of the earth, fell trees and unload dumptrucks. I like your definition of gardening and I love your picture of the sunny marguerites and frothy carrot foliage.

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    1. Maybe you could use the trowel to mark where your bulbs are. At least the handle would be easy to see! :o)

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  4. I too have those kind of workouts, hauling and digging. Mine are also on a big slope, giving the legs that mountain goat feel. Words that rhyme with truck??? hmmm what could it be?

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    1. I love the physical exhaustion that accompanies gardening. It just feels sooo good! As far as words that rhyme with truck, I'm a very patient person until suddenly, I'm not. I once got mad and yelled "Schnighkeys Mc(truck)ernuggets". My family laughed so hard, they didn't care what I was mad about about.

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  5. You always make me laugh! I can totally relate to this article. I think we have all been there done that, at one time or another.

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    1. Its made for some memorable trips to the nursery, that's for sure. :o)

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  6. This gave me more than one chuckle! Your definitions fit my own perfectly. People who don't garden would probably let it go with: A lot of work associated with itchy plants and blood-sucking bugs. They have no idea what they are missing!

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    1. I could live w/o the itchy plants and blood sucking bugs but they are a minor price to pay for rich a reward.

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  7. I would add that gardening is not only a verb, but also a noun and adjective as well. Gardening is the thing we do (noun); when we we are gardening, it's a verb; and we use it to describe (adjective) all of our other gardening nouns; i.e., gardening chores, gardening tools, gardening obsessions. BTW, I think your sunny bed is beautiful, and I would say I'm surprised that you needed to tweak it, but then again, this is gardening (noun), and sometimes we need to make gardening adjustments (adjective), and the only way to make those adjustments is by gardening (verb) till we smell like a goat and our brain is soothed. Comprende?

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    1. My first thought this morning was if I should add a few more parts of speech to the post since they all apply, but I decided to keep it simple. :o) Had I gone into full-blown teacher mode, I would have needed to add a disclaimer at the top to advise readers to grab a snack and get comfy. I might have even assigned homework. There was some design weirdness at the top of the border along with an erosion problem that needed to be fixed.

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  8. I like all your definitions, but #3 really grabbed me - "gratefully accepts accolades given by butterflies". Love that!

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    1. Thanks!! I always feel blessed when butterflies show up.

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  9. Great post! How true that even when you think you're talking about the same thing you can be worlds apart. I have told a few people about my new garden bed this summer but when some of them saw it their eyes opened wide and they looked at me in shock. Apparently our gardening definitions differ a little. Part of what makes gardening exciting though, seeing every persons interpretation.

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    1. So true! If the only perspective we ever saw life through was our own, we'd live such stunted lives. Viva la difference!

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  10. #2 is my favorite and explains why I regularly weigh 10 lbs. more in the winter than I do during any other season. (I really need to start cross-country skiing again!) When I mention this to people who don't garden and spend 100s of $$$ on gym memberships, their eyes start to glaze over. It's refreshing to spend time (and cyberspace) with people who understand this. I chuckled all the way through this post (and your photos are exquisite)!

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    1. Most of my friends aren't gardeners so I love having a community of people who understand my horticultural babbling. :o) Thanks for the compliment.

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  11. Very entertaining post! I laughed out loud!
    Beautiful photos, too!
    Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog.
    Lea

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  12. Came from CanoeCorner to see your pond. The last garden we had a bath-tub sized patio pool, two pots of dwarf papyrus, a shady tree, a bench, heaven.

    Anyone who laughs when you say gardening is exercise is on the - pick up the phone come mow the lawn - side ROFL!

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    1. I met someone once who told me they refuse to do anything that might make them sweat. Sad, sad, sad!

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  13. Masz duże poczucie humoru. Bardzo to lubię i szkoda, że Tłumacz Google nie jest na tyle dobry żebym wszystko zrozumiała :-). Sadź kwiatki tam, gdzie będzie im dobrze i Tobie się będzie podobało. Życzę też wielu motyli w ogrodzie. Pozdrawiam .
    You have a great sense of humor. Very like it, and shame that Google Translate is not so good that I understood everything :-). Judge flowers where they will be well and you will be pleased. I wish too many butterflies in the garden. Yours.

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    1. I tried to add Google translate to my blog but Bogger wouldn't let me. I'm going to keep working on it so you can read it in Polish!

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  14. What a fun, creative post!! My favs--#3 and #5 :)

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    1. Thanks!! I thought including a picture of #5 might horrify my readers. :0)

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  15. HAHA!! Great post. #4-5 really spoke to me. :)

    Were the marguerites and carrots planted together (a la companion planting)? Been reading more about that. How did they work together?

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    1. Thanks!! Thanks to your fabulous last post I'm going to be growing ground cherries! Yay!

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  16. hahahahahahaha...Love it...it is so strange how we gardeners can find gardening both relaxing AND invigoriting...and it's amazing just how good it feels to be totally exhausted after a day in the garden!

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    1. I LOVE how tired I am after spending all day in the garden. It's the most exquisite exhaustion.

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  17. Finally found you. Changed RSS readers and what a mistake. Typing one-handed with dog on lap. Sure you understand choppy sentences not caused by native language being Swahili or Swedish.

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  18. Tammy, Love your definition of gardening. "Highly cerebral" and "manual labor" are not words that commonly appear in a single sentence, but gardening is just that odd combination of things.
    You always poke fun at your garden, but in that border shot, your garden looks really, really nice.
    There is lots more intrigue and drama in your garden than in mine. A phlox seedling that is the possible love child between 'David' and 'Laura'! It sounds like the makings of a soap opera.

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  19. Some interesting definitions there. I may adopt a couple like the carrots and Marguerite.

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