Cooperative Extension Service 
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Hendry County Extension    P. O. Box 68    LaBelle, Florida 33975-0068    Phone (863) 674-4092

Hendry County Horticulture News

You Just Might Be an Avid Gardener......

Afraid that you have a black thumb?  Aphids and moles getting you down? Seedlings mysteriously pulled out of the ground?  Seeds not sprouting?  Those expensive perennials you bought last spring didn't make it through the summer?  Crabgrass and Creeping Charlie seem to be taking over?  Is this what's eating you?  Do thoughts like these seem to take up an inordinate amount of your waking hours?

Don't despair.  You are not alone!  Rest assured that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of folks here in the local area that share your obsessions.  You,  my friend, have joined the growing numbers of "avid gardeners," who have been living clandestinely among the ranks of the average American for decades.

Still not sure if you have crossed the line?  Here are a few more indicators that may help you recognize whether or not you too are an avid gardener.  You just might be an avid gardener if . . .

When you see an old house being town down, you pull over and dig out all the abandoned begonias and irises  . . .  then try to get your friends to make room for them in their gardens.

It drives you nuts when a garden center does not tell the species or cultivar name.

You spend the morning drive to work mentally marking roadside wild flowers for seed collection later in the season.

You can be found wandering in the garden talking to plants and trees.

You buy another plant, even though you have no earthly idea of where you will find a place to plant it.

If you won the lottery, your first thoughts would be about how you could improve your garden.

It's winter and a freeze warning comes along, you first go out and carefully cover your tender plants.  Later you remember to turn on the heat in the house for the humans who live there.

You have permanently brown knees from kneeling in that good earth.

You can reel off the life history of every perennial in your garden and yet consistently forget your family's birthdays and anniversaries.

You go outdoors to turn on the sprinkler and get carried away looking at the plants and then remember that supper was cooking on the stove!

It makes your day when you discover assassin bugs in the cypress.

You're considered the neighborhood authority on slime molds.

You fear you will have an accident driving one day because you're always looking sideways to see what people have in their yards.

You buy beer for slugs.

You looked around the garden and patio area the other day and realized that the garden is neater than the house.

You have been known to garden after dusk, through use of flashlight or floodlight.

If you can relate to more than a few of these simple warning signs, you have probably crossed the line.  Don't dismay - as an "avid gardener" - you have joined the multitudinous ranks of the practitioners of America's favorite hobby.   Stop fussing and admit it - you have joined the fellowship of millions of others, who have discovered this charming and therapeutic pastime.

It may be challenging at times but the rewards are priceless.  The timeless pleasure of this gentle activity as well as the simple revelry in natures endless beauty, coupled with the friendship, conversation, and personal confidence, and other rewards - are why people garden.  Go forth and walk proudly.  Good luck and good gardening.

Gene McAvoy is the horticulture agent with the Hendry County Extension Service.  Direct your horticulture questions to PO Box 68, LaBelle, FL 33975,  e-mail - or phone 863-674-4092 or  863-983-1598.  You are also welcome to visit the Hendry County Extension Office at 225 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle.   Office hours are from 8:00 - 5:00.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.

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