When I was a kid my mother, who was a nurse, kept a copy of the Merck Manual on her desk. At over 4,000 pages, it housed a diagnosis for everything that ailed you. If your problem wasn’t in the Merck, it was all in your head. But even the Merck has its limits. Despite reaching epidemic proportions every winter and spring, Geospatial Gardening Disorder has yet to be included.
As defined by me, Geospatial Gardening Disorder is diagnosed by the delusion that you actually have room in your garden for all the plants you’ve purchased. Symptoms of full blown GSGD manifest themselves through pacing about the garden with plant/seed catalogs or a laptop in tow and frustrated muttering that if only the afflicted were able to move the property stakes over an extra 40 feet or so, they could annex their garden for free. Missing chunks of lawn and numerous large boxes marked Live Plants! signal the severity of the disease. But be careful! Should you stage an intervention and attempt treatment without the help of a trained professional you risk angering a person well equipped to use a shovel and dig large holes. Chances are, no one will miss you. Consider yourself warned.
Having gone undiagnosed for years, I’ve developed a variety of coping skills to help me deal with this fabulous affliction. But the only one that is mildly effective is the employment of the Voice of Reason. I do not like the Voice of Reason.
I recently became convinced my overstuffed garden had room for a giant pincushion flower (cephalaria gigantea). However, the Voice of Reason, a nasty beast if there ever was one, did not agree. Much arguing commenced and after a few frustrated shouts of, “Giant is not Swahili for ‘Yes, this will fit in your garden’ ” I reluctantly accepted defeat. But during a recent daylily buying bender, I turned the voice off and went shopping. Unsupervised is not a wise choice for me.
However, by the next morning, I had some explaining to do:
VoR: I can’t believe you bought more daylilies! These are on your Do Not Buy list because you have so many. As a matter of fact, you gave away arm loads of them recently.
Me: Because they’re orange and purple and fragrant and have cool names.
VoR: Please tell me you didn’t buy these because of their names.
Me: Imagine the entire US/Canadian border crowded with people yelling ,”Halt! I have a daylily!”. I had no choice.
But occasionally, I’m able to persuade the Voice of Reason that a purchase isn’t just necessary, but absolutely vital. When part of my rain garden became engulfed in native blue mist flower and tiny frost asters I knew salvation would lie in ripping out swaths of blue fluffy flowers and replacing them with rudbeckia seedlings, actea ‘Black Negligee’, and pink lobelia ‘Monet’s Moment’.
As I paced the garden muttering to myself, I negotiated moving the native asters to another spot and filling the empty hole with as much lobelia as I could. I could feel the opposition rising like bubbles to the surface as the Voice of Reason countered my move.
VoR: That’s a lot of pink.
Me: That’s the point.
VoR: At least it’s not a giant daylily.