How Many Words for Gardening?

How Many Words for Gardening?

Legend has it that Inuit have more than 100 words for snow.

A friend told us yesterday that we need a similar number of words for gardening.

She had just asked Charles what he’d been doing outside and he was clearly flummoxed. It transpired that he’d been mending a shed door, but he had been doing it under the general auspices of ‘gardening’. Along with path clearing, cleaning the gate, fixing a panel in the gate, clearing a drain, strimming some grasses, painting some fencing, ordering some wood, removing an unwanted self sown ash tree, repairing some wooden edging, deadheading hydrangeas, putting a bench in place. I helped with that. (Didn’t do much else!).

Drain at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Drain draining again…

Some of you will protest that these things are not gardening.

Others will recognise the endless variety of tasks which need doing out there.

Charles at work at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Charles – not gardening?

So what do all the various types of gardener think gardening is? What do they do? Do all the above count, or none of them? Is it all gardening? There are the Professionals like Ben. He does get given bonkers work by his employers, but it must be gardening, since he’s a Proper Gardener. I understand he was out in the cold and wet recently weeding because his employer had read that it is essential to mulch and weed before the first of March. You will note that at the sensible Veddw we have no need to be weeding at this time of year, however gardeny that may be. But weeding is definitely gardening, so:

Professional gardeners are those who do jobs like weeding, grafting, pruning, fertilising.

I looked it up: they must also have excellent knowledge about plants, the different species and their needs, what could hinder or affect their growth, what they need in order to thrive, as well as which plants come to fruition depending on the changing seasons. So knowing things is gardening too.

Angus making a step, copyright Anne Wareham

Angus  (above) ought to be a Proper Gardener since he gets paid for gardening. Here, though, he’s making a step. Is that gardening???

Then there are those famous ‘Horticulturalists’.

What do they do?

Monty Don and horticulturalists

Monty in the news again.

They, according to Google, “plant seeds and bulbs to grow plants and shrubs; water, weed, prune, feed and spray plants. advise customers about plants and how to look after them. maintain plant and soil health, and control pests.” We will not for one second suggest that they sound a bit like professional gardeners.

But neither the Professionals nor the Horticulturalists apparently do the sort of work Charles and Angus do. Who does those things in their gardens?

And then there’s Vegetable Gardeners.

They are definitely too masochistic and I prefer to have no idea what they may get up to. (Though I am planning to grow a tomato plant this year. Strictly by way of experiment. Will be abandoned if it’s not easy. Unless Charles takes over. Unlikely.)

A vegetable garden copyright Anne Wareham

A vegetable garden. It is not ours! It has BARE soil!!!!

At the bottom of the hierarchy are Random Gardeners like us.

I can only say that after 40 years at it we have some idea of what really needs to be done. See Charles’s tasks above. Come to think of it though, most people, especially perhaps in the UK, where so many people, whether they want it or not, have a front garden on to the street and a back garden less visible to the world, must generally be random gardeners. Doing the kind of garden jobs Charles and Angus are doing.

A front garden in London copyright Anne wareham

A front garden in London.

And the majority of their results are pretty good, apart from those who concrete the ground over for parking, or who just don’t bother.

The Telegraph always (every month)  includes ‘tidying’ as an instruction as to what we should be doing out there. Is tidying gardening then, too? (Nooooooooooooooooo!)

Telegraph headline

What nightmarish tasks do they think gardening involves besides tidying your cabbages?

We are told that this month that we must mow, repair bare patches of lawn, introduce oxygenating plants to our wildlife pond, plant crowns of asparagus, speed things up and prepare for next month by laying clear or black polythene over the soil now to trap warmth, sow loads and loads of veggies in greenhouse, sow loads and loads of hardy annuals in the greenhouse, start dahlias into growth, wash houseplants in the bath, water and feed them, pot on and feed long term container plants. Though someone pointed out in the comments that you’d have to paddle or swim after all our rain, to do some of these things.

So what kind of gardener are you, 

when you’re not sitting with your feet up enjoying a good read?

Charles reading

Looks a bit grim!

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