Oh, come on… Like I ever use 20 words or less to define anything.
This whole topic came up in my head a few days ago in The Virtues of Bishop’s Weeds post. It didn’t actually come up in the post, but rather in the comments. Daniella, of American Pink Collar blog, said
“I have never been a gardener but yesterday I went ahead and bought some flowers for a couple of pots and already the front patio looks better.”
And all I could think was define gardener. What does it take to be considered a gardener? How many plants do you need to own to be a gardener? Or is being a gardener more about pleasure? How much do you need to enjoy growing things to be a gardener? Do you need to have perpetually dirty fingernails to be a true gardener?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines gardener as :
One who works in or tends a garden for pleasure or hire.
That makes sense. But does this mean that the poor receptionist who gets stuck with watering all the half dead pothos in the office is technically a gardener?
But this definition is still sort of vague. Mainly due to the fact that we don’t know the definition of garden, which is
- A plot of land used for the cultivation of flowers, vegetables, herbs, or fruit.
- Grounds laid out with flowers, trees, and ornamental shrubs and used for recreation or display. Often used in the plural: public gardens; a botanical
- A yard or lawn.
- A fertile, well-cultivated region.
Hmm… By that definition, my local mall is a garden but my mass of plants in containers is not. It also means that the lawn freak down the street, who has not one flower in his yard but a written schedule to tell him which of 8 directions he needs mow his lawn this week, is technically a gardener. (Only perverse pleasure or a mental disease would cause a person to be that dedicated to grass.)
The dictionary is just worthless sometimes.
My definition is
A person who tends plants.
Yeah, it means the receptionist and the lawn freak are gardeners too, but then, I suppose gardening, like everything else in life, requires tolerance of all types of people.
It appears that, in a very round about way, I accomplished the task in the title. I defined gardener with 15 words to spare.