Plant & Garden Humor: Plant collecting…I just can’t contain myself!


Plant & Garden Humor: Plant collecting…I just can’t contain myself!
  • Posted June 11, 2015


I am a serious plant collector. Okay, so the nursery pots many are trapped in are ugly as all get out, but, I do have some of the most impressive plant collections scattered about my landscape. The sheer number of plants, the superstar role call of variety names and the extensive range of plant categories is staggering. I know, it doesn't seem right for a garden designer to be so lacking in actual gardens, but it's the old cobbler's children kind of thing…I'm too dang busy with other people's gardens to plant my own. Well, that and the fact that I latch onto new plant varieties faster that my depression era grandfather snatched up stray pennies from the sidewalk. And it's not like I ever claim to have a multitude of well-planned and planted gardens, people just assume I do. Who am I to burst their bubbles of envy? When I speak of adding this or that to my herb collection, or how I have all of such and such nursery's twenty different exclusive, blue-leafed Hosta, I hear “Wow! You must have the most beautiful gardens!" Gardens? I think…“Oh yes" I reply “well, I do a lot with container arrangements. It's a big trend right now…" Do they really need to know that I'm bucking the trend by using black plastic nursery pots instead of Italian terra cotta? Besides, some of the nursery pots are terra cotta colored - that should count for something.


Naturally my collections have ups and downs, as I have to toss out deceased plants that just couldn't take one more summer of being overheated and cramped in a one gallon container. But hey, I figure the surviving 'research subjects' allow me to recommend truly low maintenance plants to my customers. Or, I just chalk it up to fate, knowing that I am meant to have some other, even better - no, not just better, but the most bestus there ever was - version of a plant that I already own twenty other versions of. Hmm, now that I think of it, who are these sadistic people who keep breeding or discovering all these new or improved plants for me to lust after anyway? Is it really any wonder that I can't keep up with planting, considering that they introduce hostas, hemerocallis and heucheras more frequently than the flavor of the week? If Dairy Queen introduced their temptations at such a rate they'd be sued for reckless endangerment! I mean really, how many shades of apricot/orange/peach/coral/amber/terra cotta/melon/salmon are there in the genus Heuchera? And don't even get me started on those stealthy catalog nurseries, with their sadistic timing, sending out collections of glossy plant pics and lush descriptors in our dreariest, most garden desperate days of winter. All those white edged hostas look sooo unique and desirable… Ooh, and aren't those ones with white stripes down the middle just special too? Are they using photo shop to embed subliminal messages of “buy me, I'm different" into those stripes? Who has time for planting when there's so much shopping and buying to be done?

This conspiracy of perfect plant purveyor-ism is obviously international, but there are serious perpetrators of plant pushing right here my local area, who serve to keep me hooked and looking for that next chartreuse foliage rush. Of course, in the end, I really do like to support the local economy and I guess funding the world travels of plant hunters could be considered charitable; after all, they might bring back a cancer fighting miracle plant along with any one of those purple/burgundy/plum/bronze/wine/maroon/bordeaux heucheras.

Dawn Sherwood
About the Author

Dawn Ochsner is a landscape designer and garden writer.


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Plant & Garden Humor: Plant collecting…I just can’t contain myself!