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What kind of gardener are you?

October 8, 2009
Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

Gardeners of the world understand that we are a varied group of people. There is the group that demands plants grow according to their plans, neatly in rows, and then I think there are the rest of us who are just simply glad something came up no matter where it did.

I would describe myself as the latter. I often have things springing up in the garden, mostly from self seeders and, fortunately, they are generally the best plants that I have to offer in any given garden. So, I have cosmos that has come up in my potatoes - did you know that it was almost 6 feet tall, and, sure, I have a pumpkin that grew by our front door all summer long.

Guess what? It was the only pumpkin that did well for us this year, despite being right near a high traffic area and growing on top of the landscaping rocks that were there. It strategically planted itself right at the end of our downspout so it had all of the available water it could hold while its counter parts in the garden were suffering for lack of water, being they were planted outside of the garden hose "reachability" area.

Dianthus seems to come back well in my gardens (as it does in many other gardener's gardens) and then eventually it just seems to magically disappear within the next year.

As if it spent its last moment putting together a show of all shows with its flowers. The dianthus happily mixes itself in alongside the marigolds, zinnias, alyssum, petunias and moss roses that come back each year from seed. While the other annuals that I purchased in the spring, start to die back from the last of the summer heat, these plants carry on with a flourish of color.

Then there are the houseplants. Its fall and so now I start to think a little bit more about where all of my houseplants are going to go once it gets too cold for them outside. I think that we all know that houseplants help keep the air in our houses just a bit better.

There is substantial research by universities that having a few houseplants in your home or in the classroom will help how you feel about that room.

It doesn't matter whether or not they are grouped up in one corner or mixed matched around the room, families and students have a better sense of well being about being in that particular place just because there is a plant in it. I tend to like the succulent cactus houseplants since they are tougher to kill and often times may produce a flower or two during the lower light times of the year such as winter when any color at all is more then welcome in the house. You can purchase and try your hand at harder plants such as those in the orchid population but be prepared to have to work a little bit more to keep it alive. We all have busy lives and thus, our houseplants suffer from our busy schedules from time to time.

If you are the type of outdoor gardener who doesn't really mind what you have, then go for it and see what happens. There are many, many different kinds of houseplants out there that do well to varying degrees and abilities on the part of the gardener. Did you know that terrariums are making a come back?

For more information about gardening whether you are a random gardener or a perfectionist gardener, you can reach me at



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