After a visit this week to yet another interesting gardening space, I have found myself pondering the different categories of gardeners. I’m sure there are more, but I’m limiting myself to 4 main categories.

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Leslie Derrenbacker

Gardener Gal

The gardener I just visited was of the serious variety I’ll call “A Knowledgeable Collector.” Every square foot of space held a plant. Succulents, orchids and water lilies were the focus.

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Very little attention was paid to eye-pleasing flower beds or landscaping. It was ALL about what was rare and if it could be propagated.

Of course, because my host was a “Knowledgeable Collector” – only Latin was spoken. I was in over my head, and found myself just nodding and smiling several times.

The second category of gardener is the “Curb Appeal/Perfection” gardener.

These folks always have the best-looking yards in the neighborhood. You know the type: perfect lawn, beautifully landscaped, perfectly edged and nary a weed or brown spot in sight.

While I admit to being envious of these beautiful yards (so easy on the eye!), the work, inevitable damage to “the ecosystem and cost to upkeep just would never work for me.

The next category worth mentioning is the “Farmer.” These folks only care about plants they can eat.

I’ve seen the most beautiful veggie gardens surrounded by bare sand and weeds for a lawn. They almost always have fruit trees too. Blueberry bushes? You betcha. If it produces something edible they’ll give it a go.

These gardeners make good neighbors as they are likely to share the harvest.

The fourth category is the dreaded, “I Have a Lot of Plants so I Must Like Plants” gardener. Allow me to paint you a picture: the front porch has lots of potted plants, but no two pots are the same color or size. Many plants are still in black nursery pots.

Plants in the yard are helter skelter with one type here and another there with no rhyme or reason. There is no effort towards attractive display.

You might be tempted to say this person is a collector. Nope. Hoarder, maybe. Look closely and you’ll see most of the plants are sickly. Most likely forgotten about shortly after purchase.

These folks also NEVER remove the pot once the plant dies ... it just sits there looking sad and empty. A lot of their victims are seasonal plants like mums, poinsettia, and Easter lilies.

I’ve offered advice to a couple of these gardeners, but the real love and appreciation of plants just isn’t there. They’ll kill even the easiest of plants to grow.

I think if we are completely honest, there is a little of each of these gardening types in all of us. That is what makes everyone’s green space interesting.

I also think we are different gardeners at different times in our lives as well.

Go walk around your yard today and see if you are really the type of gardener you want to be.

If you like what you see, don’t change a thing.

“Gardener Gal” Leslie Derrenbacker is a Master Gardener and native Floridian. Send your questions to

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