Back in the 80s and 90s, some people sported something called a “cocaine pinky”*. This is a pinky nail that has been grown out to an unusually long length so that the person the cocaine pinky was attached to could snort cocaine from it. The cocaine pinky had a sort of bad boy/girl status to it.
Frequently, people, both men and women, who maintained one would decorate it, with paint or rhinestones. Also, much like the long fingernails of Chinese aristocracy, cocaine pinky also showed that the person was rich and most likely did not do much work as extremely long pinky nails are hard to maintain if you have to do things like, oh, dress and feed yourself.
So what does this fascinating side trip into drug scene counter culture have to do with gardening? Well, because I have a gardening version of a cocaine pinky… except I don’t use it to ingest illicit drugs… and it’s not a pinky nail…and I use it for working purposes… and I don’t make it glitter and sparkle. But really, I swear, it is similar.
I have a gardener’s thumb. I’m not talking about a green thumb. That is something different, mostly having to do with the dying effects of chlorophyll on a gardener’s fingers. What I am talking about is a gardener’s thumb nail.
The thumb nail on my left hand is quite a bit longer than the nails on my other fingers. And it is also as strong as sheet metal. It is what I would call fashion haught for the gardening crowd. A long thumbnail says something about a gardener. It says, “I deadhead and pinch back my plants. I can prune softwood without having to run for the shears.” Nothing says cool gardener like a long thumbnail.
I find having a long thumbnail is very handy in the garden. Besides the already mentioned deadheading and pruning, it comes in handy for pest disposal, weeding management and makes an excellent place to store seeds while I am sowing smaller seeds.
There you have it. Another secret of the gardening underworld subculture. Just call me DJ Jarden Knome and be done with it. I still won’t put a rhinestone on my thumb nail though, no matter what you call me.
*there still might be people who have cocaine pinky now but I am not nearly cool enough anymore to know about such things