You know, I would run through those women's gardens to get to the men's gardens. Men's gardens just *feel right*. I mean, ladies gardens are pretty. I try making parts of my garden pretty, but I just seem to lack the touch.
I disagree about the annuals vs. perennials part - but I guess that's different in Southern California than it is here in New England, where bought annuals last 3 or 4 months. Growing annuals from seed is usually a long wait for a tiny reward, for me. But ... pretty amusing stuff! Thanks!
Great article,as usual!
It would be interesting to know the number of men in comparison to women,here at Daves Garden,and there ages when they started to garden.
Growing up,until about the age of mid 30's,I was a big sports watcher on tv,now I may catch the super bowl or world series,but thats it,not really interested anymore that much in sports.
I played sports in school big time too!
At work,there is only a couple guys I can talk garden with,99% of them still talk sports,especially racing,which has really never interested me at all.
I'm wondering if it is more a patience thing with gardening,if you've notice,most people who garden seem to have more patience than those who don't,or am I just imagining it?
Boy, you're right on the money, palmbob. I'm a classic female, I love bright colors, shiny objects and pretty things. I go for irises, PRETTY orchids, and amaryllis and lilies, while my boyfriend likes the desert garden stuff. You have a good grip on human nature!
Great article. I am definitely drawn more to the "female garden", but I do love foliage plants as well. Learning to love foliage was a gradual process though - necessitated by my abundance of shade. My husband must be in touch with his feminine side as he is almost more into pretty flowers now than I am! He also loves bonsai though, so I think that balances it out?
I almost hate to say this but I am one of those "rare" females who has always been obsessed with palms and collecting them. Palms have always been my favorite plant. I can't think of a more interesting group of plants.
I just got a cool shipment of bamboo in from Miami-very nice, and again, a very appealing looking plant.
Bedding plants are ok, but I have been growing them for a living for a long time and they don't excite me at all-aside from the business aspect of it.
Not sure why more women are not attracted to palms, but I love sports and was always a tomboy as a kid. I would be interested to know if with the women that do get into palms/cycads whether they showed some sort of "tomboyish" leanings in their childhood. Not sure if I am explaining this well, but I think/hope you all know what I mean.
I loved this article -- you really nailed it! Having grown up in So. CA, I love all the tropicals and palms, of course, but other than that if it doesn't have pretty flowers or you can't eat it it's not in my garden.
Lawns? There is a lawn here -- badly neglected because neither my daughter nor I have any interest in a lawn. It's just a place for the dogs to run around on since they're not allowed in the flower and veggie beds. Besides, it was here when we moved in and lots of it has been dug up to put in beds. We sure never would have planted it. I do agree that "lawns" are a "man" thing. LOL.
PALMBOB, you are a careful observer of plant people. I don't know if anyone here is old enough to remember the column "Diary of a Plain Dirt Gardener" in the 1940s and 50s Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but Mr. O'Brien wrote about the monthly meetings of the local Rose Society which seemed to have an all-male membership. He mentioned his wife's African Violets and the potted flowers he gave her. My dad raised roses and a doctor friend introduced my brother and me to growing orchids and tropical plants in a greenhouse, bringing to realization a dream begun during childhood Summers in Florida. Many of the members of the Atlanta Orchid Society were couples, but it was often the men who first had the interest. I think it is a male thing, although not exclusively, to take up the challenge of growing tropical plants in places with real winters, although if global climate change makes it possible for me to have my palms and tropicals outside more than 5 or 6 months out of the year, I will be even happier. Being able to step into the bright, full spectrum light, the warmth and humidity in my plant room, full of the big, bright tropical green leaves of palms and bananas highlighted by the varigated leaves of crotons; to delight in the fragrance of crinums and maybe the bright pink blooms of Ixora on a cold Winter day is a great boost to the spirit when the predominant colors outside are brown and gray.
With a tiny culm, a friend started what grew into a bamboo forest on his parents' farm near Richmond when he was a child. The stalks are easily 4 inches or more in diameter. It's a wild place to be when the wind blows; full of unusual clacking sounds and it looks animated with the stalks moving not just side to side, but almost seeming to move in circles. My neighborhood is next to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and home to present and former staffers, more than one with an interest in bamboo so when the leaves fall, it is interesting to find new green visitors, no longer hidden, lurking along the fence lines. I try to keep mine confined to pots.
You know, I was thinking about this, and I think that flowers must be OK as long as they're *collected*. See, I like jasmines and gardenias. Kind of frou frou, BUT, they don't bloom all the time, AND, they don't grow in my zone, AND, their whole point is not just the bloom (I know, I am grasping at straws with this one.) But since I collect them, although I wouldn't exactly expect my Sunday afternoon football buddies to say "did you say jasminum AZORICUM?!", it's still more guy-like when you have a MASS of them.
"Specimens", now those are for the ladies.
"Would you like to come view my specimens?" Mmlle. Jeannette de la Chou Chou asked her suitor, as she batted her eyes coquettishly.
"Mass plantings" -- it even sounds guy-like. Big manly plantings. MASSIVE plantings. Neo-cons would call it "plantings of mass plants"! POMP.
It sounds very guy-like. (But Condi Rice would have half an acre of carnations, or plantings of mass frou-frou plants, POMFFP.)
"We believe this gardener is developing POMP", said the general, as he cued up the first slide demonstrating an ornately espaliered row of blooming plum trees.
Lawns are a twentieth century thing - they are SO over, but only about 1 person on 300,000 realizes it yet![end quote]
HAH! I so loved this comment! I agree that they are simply a leftover from our Contintental penchant for the greensward and the rolling hills of The Old Country (Eurocentrically speaking).
I was watching an interesting video online that the Los Angeles County Arboretum put out about lawns, actually in PRAISE of them for reducing the heat island effect in urban areas, providing a permeable surface for the recharging of aquifers, and adding to the cleaning of the air! They DID emphasize green mulching (yeah! No raking!), organic fertilizer (yeah, right - like anyone even knows what that means), using drought tolerant species, along with conditioning your lawn to use less water by keeping it a bit longer in summer and curbing water to the minimum for keeping it green. I had just never thought of lawn as something beneficial. Still, I prefer lush plantings to a lawn, and will keep mine to a minimum!
You mention C&S being about 50/50, which I think is true, but if you dig deeper I bet you'll find a higher % of males into mesembs and spiny cacti, and a higher % of females into (other-than-mesemb) soft succulents and epiphyllums.
I'm an anomaly-- I can be sufficiently girly when the mood strikes, but I'm very much the collector, and very much into the scientific aspect. I like pretty plants, but I love bizarre plants, especially those with interesting adaptations to their environments. (I'm also one of those people who won't ask for directions unless I'm in a real bind for time!)
My dad, on the other hand, was into soft, fuzzy, gorgeous-flowered Gesneriads. (I can't resist a nice Episcia, either...but then, they are pretty difficult here in MN...That couldn't be why, could it?)
As I side note-- I did belong to an orchid club for a while. There were a few more men than women, but membership wasn't overwhelmingly gender-related. Species-preferences did seem gender-related, though, with men gravitating toward "slipper orchids" (Paphs, Phrags) and other unusual-shaped flowers, often in browns, greens, or deep violet-black, and women leaning toward brighter colors and larger, softer-textured flowers. There was one guy who was into Phals big-time, and he was almost defensive about it. He made a big issue of how growers whose interests were widely diversified were "immature" growers who hadn't yet found their proper field. I get a chuckle out of that. (Whatever you need to tell yourself, Darlin'.)
Editing in on the lawn question-- Remember folks, lawns may be the Great Evil some places, but not everywhere. (Patches of short grasses are native in some areas.) I've got more of our yard area in mixed plantings than I do in lawn, but a patch of the latter can be nice, too. It's a place for the kids to play; it sets off the vista of the other plants; I seldom have to water it in my climate (not at all last year, not so far this year); I never put any herbicides, pesticides or "chemical" fertilizers on it, and it provides for some wildlife species that tall herbaceous plants alone wouldn't attract. Lawns are wasteful if your climate isn't suited to them, but they're not universally bad!
So many keen insights and observations here. Thank you for starting such an interesting conversation.
I would have to say that for the most part, I fit the female profile:
I'm a member of the Gesneriad Society and the Begonia Society. I will suffer through the chore of digging and overwintering my brugmansias every year because the intoxicating fragrance of those blooms is worth the effort. I have no use for palms, but that's more to do with living in Connecticut than a genuine dislike of them. I have a slew of succulents that I keep indoors and a couple of opuntias that I grow in a rock garden. I confess that the main attraction of the opuntias is the long, spiky spines and the maddeningly irritating glochids. No penis envy here, guys. I'm just relishing the thought of one of the local critters piercing his palate on one of those babies. Take that woodchuck, you overgrown rodent! Take that, deer, you tulip-munching Lyme disease spreader!
It's a testament to the sensibility of gardeners that we can have this discussion without any one taking offense. So far.
oojen - I couldn't agree with you more re: lawns. In fact - it probably behooves you in MN (Land O' Lakes!) to have lawns as they really soak up the water at a faster rate than other plants. In the arid west (and perhaps surprisingly, even the Pacific Northwest) lawns can be terribly wasteful as they are tended currently - though they don't have to be if you use a little common sense. This is a serious regional difference, so I appreciate your remarks!
I think a little lawn,helps to add to your garden,or enhance it,especially a formal garden.
On the other hand,I'm into rain forest gardening,or most people just call it q jungle,but iot is out lined with a lawn,on the outside,mainly because the city owns the first 15 feet of your lawn,but your governed to maintain it appropriately to there satisfaction!
But I like to use a lawn for paths winding thru the garden leaving one type of section to the next.
Although I have mostly women stopping to see the garden,mainly because they have more time during the day than men do, Ha Ha!!but still about 40% men will stop and ask questions,they like to compare it to places they have been,mostly during the Vietnam War.
Mainly both men and women can't believe I get these plants to grow in Kansas.
Lets face it,you drive by my house you can't see it from the street,and people drive can't believe how fast it grew to be a jungle,they might have driven by a month or so ago and didn't notice a thing,and all of a sudden a Jungle now!!!!
I say well we have had double the rain for the whole year already.they say where did you get such a wide variety of tropical plants,I say,you'll be surprised what you can trade for over the internet!!!LOL
Wow Tropicman! I bow to your skill! I can only hope to have a garden like your Rain Forest Garden! I, too, will be using grass as pathway - much nicer under foot than gravel or even stone! Keep on growin'!
I have more fun,gardening like this than the typical gardening that every body does.
I have started somewhat of a fad here in Wichita,Ks,and now there are several people
gardening like this,like me they all have greenhouses and are making them bigger and better every fall,so many plants to overwinter here.
It's about a 50/50% percent man and women doing this type of gardening,and we all come from different walks of life,police dept,plummer,seamstress,welder,none having any horticulture background,this is what I find amazing!