Gardener Gal: Mulling different categories of gardeners | Home and outdoor living

After a visit this week to another interesting gardening space, I found myself thinking about the different categories of gardeners. I’m sure there are more, but I’m limiting myself to 4 main categories.






Leslie Derrenbacker

Gardener Gal


The gardener I just visited was the serious type that I will call “an informed collector”. Each square foot of space contained a plant. Succulents, orchids and water lilies were the center of attention.

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Very little attention has been paid to the flower beds or landscaping that are pleasing to the eye. It was ALL about what was rare and if it could be spread.

Of course, because my host was an “informed collector” – only Latin was spoken. I was overwhelmed and found myself nodding and smiling a few times.

The second category of gardener is the “Curb Appeal / Perfection” gardener.

These people still have the most beautiful gardens in the neighborhood. You know the type: a perfect lawn, beautifully landscaped, perfectly bordered and with no weeds or brown spots in sight.

Although I admit to being jealous of these beautiful sites (so pleasant to watch!), The work, inevitable damage to “the ecosystem and the cost of maintenance would simply never work for me.”

The next category worth mentioning is the “farmer”. These people only care about the plants they can eat.

I have seen the most beautiful vegetable gardens surrounded by bare sand and weeds for a lawn. They also almost always have fruit trees. Blueberries? You bet. If it produces anything edible, they will try.

These gardeners make good neighbors because they are likely to share the harvest.

The fourth category is the dreaded gardener “I have a lot of plants so I must love plants”. Let me paint you a picture: the porch has a lot of potted plants, but no pot is the same color or size. Many plants are still in black nursery pots.

The plants in the yard are a mess with one guy here and another there for no rhyme or reason. There is no effort towards an attractive display.

You might be tempted to say that this person is a collector. No. Accumulator, perhaps. Look closely and you will see that most of the plants are sick. Most likely forgotten soon after purchase.

These people NEVER remove the pot after the plant is dead … it just sits there looking sad and empty. Many of their victims are seasonal plants like moms, poinsettias, and Easter lilies.

I have given advice to a few of these gardeners, but the true love and appreciation for plants just isn’t there. They will kill even the easiest plants to grow.

I think if we’re completely honest, there’s a bit of each of these types of gardening in all of us. This is what makes everyone’s green space interesting.

I also think that we are also different gardeners at different times in our lives.

Take a walk in your backyard today and see if you really are the type of gardener you want to be.

If you like what you see, don’t change a thing.

“Gardener Gal” Leslie Derrenbacker is a master gardener and originally from Florida. Send your questions to [email protected]

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