Beyond The Garden Gate

Do you have an eccentric gardener next door?

By Dooley Berry
Posted 3/15/17

Have you ever wondered about your strange gardening neighbor who joyfully fills an old tire with petunias and calls it formal landscaping? Is he potted and/or sotted as he prunes the heck out of …

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Beyond The Garden Gate

Do you have an eccentric gardener next door?

Posted

Have you ever wondered about your strange gardening neighbor who joyfully fills an old tire with petunias and calls it formal landscaping? Is he potted and/or sotted as he prunes the heck out of those hedges?

I believe that I have some of the qualifications and experience to provide you with some professional guidance in determining whether you might have an eccentric gardener right next door or somewhere in your neighborhood.

Don't spend too much time determining how I might have provided such a list. Just go through and answer thoughtfully about your neighbor. As you go through the list, you might find that some of these apply to you. If this is true, you might be the eccentric gardener that your neighbors are talking about. No shame in this. I call it creative gardening. I have known professional gardeners who grow entire gardens in the back of their pickup truck. It is ok to reinvent the wheel and use it as a trellis for climbing vines. So here, in no particular order, is a list of clues to determine if you have an eccentric gardener next door.

Gardening clogs are firmly ensconced at every entrance to her house and garage, so that she can rush out at a moment's notice to chase the errant deer, squirrel or rabbit who threatens to dine on her vegetables.

If you happen to see your neighbor lying on his stomach in the grass, do not panic and call in the paramedics. If you wait a moment or two, he will get up, allowing you to see his permanently grass-stained shirt, after taking one of his persnickety ground level photos.

Your neighbor often spends fall afternoons sitting on her lawn--jabbing at it over and over with a long narrow trowel, as she plants another hundred or so bulbs for her spring flower profusion.

At this time of the year-early spring-you can never get to your local nursery for your spring violas and geraniums earlier than this eccentric does. By the time you think of purchasing your spring flowers, she has already gotten hers, planted them in neat rows and given them each a perky name. Definitely eccentric.

On a day when the wind is blowing just right, a pervasive odor of lots of animal manure drifts over to your yard from next door and settles down to stay-just like a wet blanket.

On an investigatory visit one day, you notice a huge collection of gardening tools and hoes hanging in his garage. You secretly wonder if he actually runs a garden tool supply shop in the old neighborhood.

When the UPS man brings packages to this neighbor's home, nine times out of 10, they are marked “Live plants.” That 10th package looks suspiciously like a hoe or designer shovel.

He drives his truck around town with bumper stickers with sayings like, “Practice random acts of gardening,” or “This truck stops for flowers.”

Whenever this neighbor is outside or even if you run into her at Walmart, she has a holster clipped to her side pocket. “Gun!”, you think with a panic, until you determine it is her pruners nestled there.

When she is outside, you see as much of her rear side as her face because she seems to be constantly bent over pulling a weed, smelling a flower or just trying to determine which pest is nibbling her squash plants.

The last clue that you might have an eccentric gardener living next door is....he always smiles when it rains.

Eccentric gardeners, like eccentrics in other realms, seem to view the world through different lens-often a more creative one. Their uncommon visions for common objects often rejuvenate others with a sense of wonder and awe. The British seem to be an endless source of eccentricity and gardening is not excluded. Sir George Sitwell was a keen British gardener who studied garden design. He became annoyed by the wasps in his fine gardens and invented a pistol for shooting them.

The garden is big enough for all to plant as they see fit. Gardening is an art and a window into the spirit of the gardener-eccentric or not. Hope your neighborhood is full of these creative eccentrics.