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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Garden Bloggers Are Not Geeks!

Recently, I have noticed many garden bloggers calling themselves geeks; refer to their knowledge as plant-geek, and to their gardens as geekdoms. It is time to stop this self-deprecation. We are not geeks!

We gardeners generate pleasure and joy not only for ourselves, when we practice our craft, but also when we help others. There is nothing nerdy about gardening. There is nothing nerdy about our expertise. That we are misunderstood is unfortunate. That our passion mildly amuses non-gardeners, rather than impresses them, is their problem and their loss. Our opinion of ourselves should not be molded by the ignorance of others.

I am proud of who I am and what I do. I watch peoples’ eyes light up when I deliver a colorful plant; I see their ecstasy when that flower is planted in their garden. I hear their joy when they tell me how they run to their window each morning to see a plant newly in bloom. On their way to work each morning, people stop to admire my garden. Some get out of their cars to take pictures. That does not make me a geek; that makes me a local celebrity, even though I do not seek out that honor.

The history of geeks is quite different from our own. Years ago, industry kept their technical staff in the back room, where no one could see them. Behind the scenes, they were responsible for fine-tuning the machinations of commerce or machinery itself. They were mostly invisible because, through no fault of their own, they had focused on developing the brain at the expense of social graces. Businesses did not want the public to notice them for fear that their awkward manner might frighten customers away.

Then the computer was born and only the technically inclined could understand it; only they could explain it to others. Suddenly, clients who needed technology demanded to talk directly to those that really knew. Now industry had no option but to move the geek from the back room to the front office, then to the head of the company and finally to the forefront of industry. Suddenly, the geek became a prince.

In 2008, the National Gardening Association reported that about 84 million households participate in some form of gardening activity. Unfortunately, these numbers do not differentiate between those that maintain lawns and other outdoor living spaces and those that specifically focus on growing flowers or vegetables with a passion. The congested parking lots at nurseries in spring, and the size of the perennial flower display at all big box retail stores, indicate that the number of passionate gardeners is greatly underestimated.

The garden blog website Blotanical reports that over 1650 people who garden also write blogs on garden related topics. That number does not include those who tend to gardens without writing garden blogs. Nor does it reflect the thousands of unique visitors that access garden bloggers' sites weekly. The readership number for these sites explodes during the gardening season.

Gardeners are not awkward; nor do we lack social graces. We are passionate, hard-working, creative people, who are happy to talk to others, to share our knowledge and our plants. We deserve respect. More importantly, we deserve to respect ourselves because in the garden, we are royalty.

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Reader Comments (4)

Right On!

I had lunch with a group of friends yesterday, and when they learned that I was writing a gardening blog they looked at me like I was from another planet. I feel much better now after reading your lovely post.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Hear, hear! Since I have little kids, I also consider it a privilege to be able to create a place of beauty that they can enjoy and explore.
So thanks for that!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCalgary Garden Coach

Oh dear! I fear I have been perpetuating this self depreciation but I like to think that by unabashedly and proudly embracing such words, we help to defeat their somewhat malicious intent. Could there possibly be anything worse than a gay plant geek? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but still I'll be the first to admit it!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeza

As someone probably close to your age, I hope you will not be offended when I point out that you are showing your age. Geeks have been rehabilitated and it is now a badge of honor which means that you are a very knowledgeable, very cool dude. After all one of the richest men in the world is a geek, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs is a folk hero to the current generation.

Nuelasta, by the way, is a shot that boosts the immune system after Chemo.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne

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