When I Am Queen... | Garden Etiquette

Note:  If you  have stumbled upon this post by accident, or by coercion, you should know that "the Queen" is my occasional, alter-diva-gardening-ego.  She has shown up today to make a fantasy decree about garden etiquette.

Hear ye, hear ye!  If you ever find yourself in anyone else's garden, as a welcomed guest or as an uninvited intruder, the Queen hereby posts the following notice of non-exclusive, and non-negotiable Garden Etiquette:

1.)  Have an invitation - implied or otherwise confirmed.
  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT show up at someones garden unannounced.  If you happen to be in a situation where you do not remember driving to someones garden, yet there you are amidst the daylilies without an escort or an invitation - YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.  The garden host may be too nice to tell you what a complete, self-important jerk you are for showing up unannounced and helping yourself to the beauty, but I am not that nice.  Don't show up to browse seedlings, check out the greenhouse or see the new pond without an expressed invitation.  Do not let the garden owner come home to find you in their fields casually browsing as if you owned a stake in the place.  People will surely talk behind your back for a long time to come if you do and you'll find your welcome wears thin much quicker than it used to. 

2.)  Do not ask for anything, or assume you can have anything while you are visiting someone else's garden.  Again, the garden owner will most likely be too generous and nice and share with you whatever you ask for - that's what we do.  Please do not put garden owners in this situation.  Many people do this very thing for thier own good and yet would not repay the favor if the situation was reversed.  Do not prey on generosity in the spur of the moment.  Do not ask for pollen, plants, dibs, or pieces.  You'll look silly and people will be talking behind your back again.

3.)  Do not ask to use the bathroom.  Enough said.

4.)  Do not bring your pets without calling ahead to confirm their attendance.  (When I say pets, I include children under 5 here as well.) 

5.)  Do not comment on how much nicer something that you see in someone else's garden is growing in yours.  Also, do not use the phrase, "I have one just like that one" unless you know it is the same cultivar or plant.  Too often you will find that you have insulted the garden owner by saying that the $5 pot of sedum you picked up at the Home Depot is the same as their $60 rare, imported cultivar of succulent goodness.

6.)  Do not point out weeds with statements like, "Wow, look at that!" or "Why did you let that grow?" or "Is that a weed?"  You can see how the response to any one of those statements is not good for you.  If you are so sure it's a weed, and would allow your mouth to comment about it, then you surely aren't above bending down, picking it out and hiding it in your pocket so as to not embarrass the garden owner.

The Queen has spoken.

P.S.  In all seriousness, please adhere to the above suggestions in their most basic form.  Gardens are a very personal thing.  If you have never had people come to visit your own garden, or if these rules seem silly and overstated, that means they apply to you.  We are talking about YOU.  Stop it.


Antique ART Garden said...

Gee, I have never worried if someone had to use the bathroom or of they have small children. Unless they are throwing balls , then I put a quick stop to it. Your garden must be much grander than mine. I'm just happy if anyone shows ANY interest in my garden ! thanks, Gina

Christine B. said...

Amen to number three! Last year I was working madly before a garden club group came to tour. Thirty minutes before the tour started people started showing up and wanting to come through so I ran inside to wash the muck off my hands. A strange woman left the bathroom and walked out the front door. I asked my hubby 'who was that?' and he said a woman here for the tour came early and had to "go". Had I known I was providing facilities, I would have swirled out the toilet. Oh well.

Can I add a number 7? Don't show up early and expect a guided tour. Most likely the gardener is out doing last minute stuff...at least in my case.

Christine in Alaska

Catherine said...

I have the least impressive garden in the world, yet when i gave my mother in law a tour, she pointed out a lovely thistle. Thanks MIL.

Ann Flowers said...

Thanks for sharing the garden etiquette. It was nice going through your blog. keep on posting.

Anonymous said...

I just ran across your great article, 'When I Am Queen...' -loved it! Wish you'd repost it just to keep it always readily accessable for viewing in more recent searches!!! Or make a vintage sign with just those sentiments to post in gardens everywhere! ;)

Nikki Schmith said...

Great thoughts, everyone! I just revisited the post, too, and got a fresh giggle!
Thanks for the comments...


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