Monday, October 11, 2010

Gardening disease identified: beware!

Don’t worry, this is another fluff piece.  I’ve been around the gardening block a few times, but thankfully I still get pleasantly surprised by a plant here, a concept there.  You can only be cynical about so many things in life before it becomes a bit toxic.  So imagine my glee when I read about “Gardening Withdrawal Syndrome.”  I can thank our dear and charming President…no not him!  I mean Jane B., of the Anchorage chapter of the Alaska Master Gardeners for this nugget of info.

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She warned via email one of the symptoms of this malady is the old “rage against the dying of the light” approach for climates that have a winter dormancy period.  For her, onset begins when she takes cuttings of many perennials and annuals and attempts to winter them over by rooting them in water in the garage.  So what if you lose half of them to rot, she says, you still have a bunch more ready and waiting for next spring.

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Maybe I’ve seen too many TV dramas, but aren’t withdrawal syndromes characterized by shakes or seizure of some kind?  Or is it vomiting and frothing at the mouth?  I’ll count shivering through winter as shakes, if you don’t mind.  My Gardening Withdrawal Syndrome symptoms are not as useful, productive, or as thrifty as Jane’s.  Yes, I know, another big surprise for the readership.  I’ll rank them, as I seem to be on a list fetish lately.

1. Looking out the window…a lot and with an accompanying frown.  “Yup, the snow is still there” or “Look, the moose ate the trees again.”

2. Reading and rereading nursery mail order catalogs.  Morphine for those amidst a long winter’s gardening hiatus.

3. Ordering plants I don’t need, aren’t hardy, and/or are unaffordable.  If they are located across the country with an absurdly high shipping charge, so much the better.

I realize the symptoms will vary from individual to individual.  But I’m wondering if they also vary by geography, country, gardening zone, etc.  I can just barely fathom there are those unaffected by this syndrome, such as those that garden in a very mild climate.  Or maybe they just have lots of hobbies….  

Are you having symptoms of GWS?

22 comments:

Rosey said...

I get this disease every spring.

Kate said...

I try to avoid those overly cheerful gardeners who live in mild climates, like zone 7 or above. At least during the half of the year when I have snow on the ground. ;>)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

The answer is yes.I get the symptoms as soon as everyone starts talking about Fall coming. A dread just starts coming over me. I go right from summer blooms to the snows and cold of winter which causes me not to enjoy all of the beauty of Fall. I start looking for plants to grow indoors to get my flower fix. Start planning for Spring at the first arrival of a catalog.I shutter to think of winter even now. LOL! I do think would ever survive in Alaska at all. Cabin fever and all of that. How do you do it girl? LOL!

College Gardener said...

Yes!!! Fall is not even really kicking in here, the leaves just beginning to turn color, and yet I am already cramming my dorm room windows full of tropicals as if in a panic that tomorrow plants are going out of style. By the middle of winter I want to plant every seed from my breakfast grape fruit because even the possibility of growing greenery seems so precious when everything outside is bathed in grey slush.

Elephant's Eye said...

No, see, we sneak a glimpse out of the window at a garden saying HOT Thirsty Water please. And then we look away because it is too hot for the four legged watering system. Anyway two of those legs have a blogging addiction. It is a different set of counting the cost. Who did we lose this summer? What will we replace? Where do we admit defeat and give up on that?

guild-rez said...

“Gardening Withdrawal Syndrome"??
Never experienced the syndrome:)
Every season in my Guildwood garden is beautiful.
I am a very busy person,
if I can't garden,
I walk, blog, cook, travel and read.
Thank you for visiting,
Gisela.

TS said...

I currently have more plants than garden thanks to my favorite online nurseries and the sale rack at the local garden center!! I may have to annex my neighbors yard...! Great write up!! I start going crazy around March and end up pacing the yard like a loon. :0)

Faith said...

Oh man. I get these withdrawls bad. Especially after snow. Go get a bird feeder and stick it outside your staring window and it turns into bird T.V. That's what I do.

Grace Peterson said...

It usually doesn't hit until January when a few winter bloomers are starting to bloom. then I'm just itching for MORE. Great post, Christine.

Kathleen said...

Not yet but as soon as the first frost hits, I'll be a mess. I'm like Lona ~ dreading the winter so much I don't appreciate fall.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I haven't had the gardening withdrawal as yet. Right now we are still in rain withdrawal. We need a great deal of rain to soften the ground so we can at least pull a few weeds before it gets too cold. I am happy to say we had a splash of rain while I type. .02 according to my DB. This makes me happy.

Patty said...

What a fun post. While I love gardening I also appreciate the down time. I use it for day dreaming about what I will do next spring.

Melanie said...

sort off but I have lots of winter hobbies, like skiing. If I couldn't ski I would be living in the tropics.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Well, I start to get this malady in about February when I feel like I will start screaming and never stop. That's my worst month. However, I have ordered way too many plants this fall. Perhaps, I am suffering. The weather here is so fine I can't help myself. I feel for you in Alaska. Maybe you could head down to Oklahoma this month?~~Dee

Wow, thats a busy garden said...

Right now I have "Gardening Burnout Syndrome" and just want to sit back and enjoy it before it all starts to wilt when it gets cold. I usually get "GWS" around February and March when the days start getting longer and it seems like it should be time to garden but I can't because it will still freeze. Thanks for sharing your great thoughts and pictures. My husband and I took a vacation in Alaska in August, it was beautiful! Annie from Oregon

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Christine, I used to get GWS at this time, but now I really need the downtime. I am getting too old to garden year round. But by March I am all rested up and ready to start again, then I have GWS and hate waiting another couple of months. Having said this, I know I could not tolerate the Alaskan climate. I really admire your fortitude. Pam x

rosalie-gesine said...

I´m a bit like that, but: I can blog during the winter about gardening, clean the flat like mad, go to Theatre, Concerts or Opera, play with my cats, meet friends, read, eat, ...!

Think positiv!
Gesine

mike 'hazeltree' thompson said...

love your humour...fraid to say that here in dorset england we work all the way through the winter...even in the snow..but we do take Christmas day off but have no withdrawal symptoms at all that day!

Barbara said...

My main symptom of gardening withdrawal is going out to the garden despite the weather and just walking round and round looking at everything hoping to find something to do! A fun post.

Crazy Garden Lady said...

I really haven't got anything to get withdrawn about - Sydney winters are nothing compared to what some of you Northern Hemisphere folk deal with every year - this winter just gone was so much better than winters of growing past thanks to the discovery of hellebores and their awesome cold weather thriving properties. If I can grow just one thing during the cold weather, then I'm happy.

MoonstruckinMontana said...

Wow, are you kidding me? I should be the poster child for GWS! A gardener trapped in a motorhome traveling the country with no garden to speak of! Someone needs to come and do a study of my condition and subsequent coping mechanisms which include (but are not limited to) secretly weeding other people's gardens, packing around 2 confused cymbidiums, spending hours wandering aimlessly through parks and public gardens (which I've been known to weed as well) and eating copious amounts of chocolate (not sure how that fits in but, hey, it keeps me entertained). I finally talked a botanical garden into letting me volunteer for a few months so I could just get my hands in the dirt...

Indoor Fountains said...

I get this along with the sister disease- Chlorinated Pool Water Withdrawal Syndrome

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