Garden Etiquette

dbarron(z7_Arkansas)June 20, 2014

I posted this on a muddled thread earlier, but decided I wanted feedback from local it is.

You know those houses that for years and years you've driven by, and were always a pleasure to see the beautiful beds, eve if they were the normal pass along plants?

I've noticed in recent (year?) a couple that have started decline, and I was wanting to ask others opinion of a course of action.

My expectation is that either the house has sold or the little old lady is running out of steam.

Would it be hurtful to stop and inquire if the house has changed hands and if not, explain that you've admired the beds for years as you drove by, and would simply like to stop and thank the person who maintained them?

Or would this be hurtful to someone who may not be able to maintain them now ?

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

If the little old lady is still there she would love it. If a new person is there try not to say how bad it looks. What ever is in my head comes out my mouth, but your intensions are good so I don't see how bad can come of it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:46PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

dbarron, what are you trying to accomplish by doing that? Are you going to offer to take care of it for them? Just curious what your end plan is.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:23PM
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No plan, I would just like to say thanks for providing beauty that hopefully a lot of people have enjoyed over the years. I suspect that pitfully few people ever thank gardeners.

I've certainly enjoyed it when a few random folks have stopped by and said they admired my yard for years.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:57PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

I guess I am confused. So, you are going to thank them for how they used to look. How are you going to tactfully tell them their property has deteriorated without insulting them. I don't get what you are trying to accomplish.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:09PM
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And *that* is why I'm asking people's opinion.
I still think it's worthwhile to say that I've really appreciated their efforts...
I figure they absolutely know that and will probably say something along the lines of 'I just can't do it anymore'. I can finish off with 'I just wanted to let you know someone appreciated it enough to say so.'

I did want to ask *this* group if they thought this would be positive, are you saying no ?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:43AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

dbbarron, I do think you want to do something positive, I honestly do. Personally, I think you will come off offending or embarrassing someone you don't even know. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:26AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Ooops. Duplicate post somehow.

This post was edited by dirtguy50 on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 11:31

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Just do an online search at your county auditor's website. Most list the owner's name and the sale history of the property.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:31AM
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Speaking as an older gardening lady who doesn't do nearly as well as in years past, I would be embarrassed by someone stopping by and saying in essence they used to enjoy my know that old adage tell someone how much they mean (or their gardens) before they die (or get too darned old to keep it up!). Tell people now how much you enjoy their gardens now.

I know I am very conscious that I don't keep my yard like I used to and I can't even find someone to pay to help me!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:49AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I used to drive by a cottage type garden every day (this was years ago when I worked). There was a plant blooming I was interested in and stopped once to ask what it was. The owner was an old lady and I came away with a bag of pass-a-long plants. Later I saw many vehicles parked around and the garden declined. I knew the old lady had died or moved to live somewhere else. I am glad I stopped when I did. She enjoyed giving me the starts of plants and meeting a young person who was admiring her garden.

So yes stop when you admire a garden and complement the gardener and don't wait until the garden has declined. I still think a tactful person could find something to admire in a declining garden and the gardener may appreciate the fact that you have been admiring their garden for years. I tend to put my foot in my mouth but I do have the ability to pick out a beautiful or interesting plant among the weeds. When you stop at Glenda's house tell her you love the cottage garden look and admire her petunias.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Just my 2c worth. I know dbarron and I find it highly unlikely he would say something insensitive or thoughtless to the owner. This is not a complaint issue, its a fellow gardener who has an appreciation for years of seeing another gardeners work and also a concern. Good things can come from people enquiring, ignoring things is a guarantee nothing will come of anything. How many lonely people are ignored? You never know unless you ask.

I seriously doubt if an elderly lady came to the door he would muff it by her asking if the ownership had changed hands. Now if a young person answers the door, that would be different and the question would be fine. These things usually play themselves out appropriately once more facts become obvious. Asking the neighbors is also an option I am sure he has thought of.

The fact that barron is asking for input shows sensitivity that this has a potential for coming across wrong so tact is definitely a prime issue and concern for him. Thats how I read this.

So whats this business about a thread thats muddled?? You know me, always going sideways and off topic. Truth is, the discussion about the nursery's is far more conducive to back and forthing with interesting comments than the single plant. I mean, how much can you say about that? 2 choices. Yea, I like it. Nah I hate it. (I'm joking)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hope you dont mind i am not in the ozarks ...

i have often knocked on a door.. to tell someone i admired their gardens ...

and there is one in particular.. where the couple has to be in their mid 80s ...

i have to tell you... i made their day ... i told them i didnt care about weeds... lack of care.. etc ... i told them mine looked worse ...

they held more knowledge.. in the dirt under their nails.. than i will ever have..

and were completely thrilled to have a 'young' person to talk to about it all ..

i highly recommend you knock or drop a note.. and make someones day ...

they even made me sit down and have some ice cream with them ... such a different generation ...


ps: they also invited me back.. and filled my trunk with pieces of this and that.. in their day.. you shared plants ...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:24AM
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cherig22(MO 6a/6b)

I would be stopping to ask for seeds and cuttings. By admiring their gardens and beds, and telling them how lovely they are, you are perpetuating their beauty. I, for one, would be thankful.

All you have to say is that you admire them. If you want to propagate them, you are passing it on to other generations.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Here is a reverse situation. One day I was up front weeding and a couple of very frail but feisty looking grey haired ladies who looked like they were in their mid 80's stopped the car to chat. They could have easily been my grandma, Aunt Esther or Aunt Blanche and in fact reminded me so much of them that this alone would have been the ingredients for a great day. Flowered dresses and all.

They told me they often drove by to look at my garden and loved the flowers and prairie landscape with the native grasses because it reminded them of home and the old days when everyone was out working in their gardens and how they missed gardening themselves so they regularly drove past my house on their errand runs since it was like a visit to the past and nostalgic for them. They were completely delightful ladies and it made me feel indescribably good. I almost felt like my aunts and grandma had visited, these ladies were so similar to them in the way they talked. They talked about how people didn't seem to be interested anymore in gardens and how sad they thought that was. I am a long way from being young and could only be considered young in comparison to these ladies since such things are relative but they said they were glad that some young people still did this. I am only one generation close behind them.

Another thing that made this nice is my garden is intentionally a reflection of my childhood spent in rural Oklahoma even though I am stuck in an urban area close to downtown so I was happy that these women recognized that.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 15:03

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:02PM
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