All Things Gardening forum: The gift dilemma. "I want plants..." "Don't bring so many plants..."

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 2, 2017 6:14 AM CST
Do you have a friend or family member who does this to you? They say, "I want all of these plants" when they visit yours but when you show up @ their place with gift plants, the recipient complains that there are already too many plants in their house.

They say, "I want one in my yard" and when I take cuttings, get them rooted, take them over there, dig a hole, plant & water them and 2 years later it's a mature shrub, they say, "I need to cut that down, it's too big" (in a sea of mowed area, touching nothing...)

They say, "I love those flowers, I want some!" and so I fill up the trunk with plants, drive over, dig holes, plant them... 5-6 months later I'm back with some blooming ones in a vase and, "those things are ugly, I had to rip out a bunch of them around the corner, they had gotten really tall..."

Do you have one of these? What in the world do you do?
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
Jan 2, 2017 7:13 AM CST
I would just tell you that they envy your success with plants. I would not feed into their "need". It is not your responsibility to supply them with plants that you have thoughtfully nurtured to give to them. Don't be an enabler for a negative cause! Maybe try taking them with you when you purchase plants. Let them select their own and offer advice when they need it.
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Jan 2, 2017 10:31 AM CST
I've had enough of that Tiffany. So now, when non-gardening friends they say, "I want one of those", they get cuttings to root themselves. That way they get to see that work, time and effort is involved in giving/sharing plants. And I get to see if they are serious or as Gary mentioned above, if they are just envious of my gardening success, and wishing to have the same. Sometimes, I tell them where they can acquire the same plant, at their own expense. People tend to appreciate things more, when their own $$s are involved.

I've had friends ask me to root cuttings and promise to return to get them. I got tired of over-wintering bunches of unclaimed cuttings for others, and just had to stop doing it. I only root cuttings for /share plants with serious gardening friends, so there is no wasted effort.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jan 2, 2017 10:46 AM CST
When I give plant starts to non-gardening friends, I tag them with the common name, and very rudimentary care instructions, "Needs full sun, gets 4' tall, blooms purple in late spring." I also warn them that 4' tall also most likely means 4' in diameter eventually. It doesn't take much effort to chunk out perennial starts in early spring. Sometimes I don't even bother to pot them up, just use cardboard boxes and smash a bunch together.

For real gardeners, I will tag with the botanical name only (they will figure out where to site them) and either pot up or not, depending on when we may be exchanging.

Another thought: just bring your non-gardeners one or two plants, with a reminder of when they saw it in your garden, what they liked about it (the blooms, the fragrance), along with some basic care instructions. Maybe too many plants overwhelms them.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Jan 2, 2017 10:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Jan 2, 2017 11:36 AM CST
Similar problems here as well. Made a nice perennial container and found they dumped it with the annuals. Sighing! even after they where told double Sighing!

I have a annual plant sale for friends and family who want plants.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jan 2, 2017 8:53 PM CST
Tiffany, my SO is like you - she thinks that people always mean what they say. When it turns out that someone was just flapping their lips, she doesn't understand what happened.

Maybe people think that "I want one" is just a compliment meaning nothing. It might not mean something CRAZY, like "I would put effort into caring for it if I had one".

I couldn't think of any test you could use to separate serious gardeners from big talkers. It would have to be something that made the other person do some tiny bit of work to demonstrate actual interest - like coming back the next day and helping you dig.

Maybe tell them that if they bring you a clean pot with drain holes, you'll put a start into it. If bringing you a pot is too much work for them, they probably would not have cared for the plant anyway.

I think we just have to keep track of who means what they say, and who will say anything but do none of it.

>> a sea of mowed area, touching nothing...

I have a neighbor like that. First she killed everything she could, paying people to come in and cut down nice azaleas that were just about to open their blooms. She made me remove a small raised flowerbed that the prior owner had let me put on her side of the sidewalk. Then she got the park management to cut down multiple healthy trees on both lots. Now her yard looks like a desert, with some lawn that another neighbor mows for her.

I would have thought I was exaggerating to say that she likes things to be dead, but she "decorated" the light at the end of our common driveway with a plastic skeleton, that she re-dresses a few times per year. She even had an Easter-theme skeleton ...

Before she had moved fully in and I realized that she was pretty far into the Crazy Zone, I brought her some fresh cherry tomatoes and talked about gardening. She could see all my raised beds and flowering shrubs.

Like your friends, she claimed that she liked plants and was a gardener herself.
That was before she carefully killed EVERY living thing except the lawn.

Some people's words are just warm, moist air. They say whatever makes them feel good, then they do whatever makes them feel good. Different things, in some cases.

I don't know why, but only some people understand there should be a connection between what they say and what they do. Nice people often assume that everyone is as honest and truthful as they are. But a lot of people seem to have missed school on the day they covered that principle.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jan 3, 2017 9:28 AM CST
Thanks for the commiseration and responses! The recipient is elderly, so I wouldn't expect any effort. I didn't mention that originally, sorry.

I've given no gifts that require care that doesn't already exist at the house (occasionally watering a few potted plants.) I said don't worry about keeping them alive indefinitely, just enjoy the blooms & toss them out later if that is easier. In my mind, I was giving a bouquet that should just last longer than cut flowers in a vase. I don't mind being the one who keeps plants going so everyone can enjoy their blooms during the "off season."

I'm probably putting way too much weight on these, which are probably just the most casual of remarks. After more thought & reading folks' helpful comments & anecdotes, I feel like I have probably not done a good enough job explaining when giving the potted plants &/or my remarks were phrased in an insulting way, even bringing up that the plants might not stay alive.

The yard plants really puzzle me though. They can fend for themselves, and have been planted with ample room on all sides. A few of them are plants this person bought but didn't stay alive, so I replaced them (via effort, not expense.) Fig tree, Gardenia, roses, elephant ears, various bulbs...

I think some part of it may be the general mindset of people from that generation, that all plants require some kind of pointless tasks to be performed on them (shearing hedges into unnaturally tidy shapes, for example,) or store-bought substances applied regularly, and the recipient is trying to make me feel better by saying these things so I'll know that she knows they need to be done, even if I promise they don't.

Thanks for the feedback, folks!

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
[Last edited by purpleinopp - Jan 3, 2017 9:30 AM (+)]
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Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Jan 3, 2017 10:01 AM CST
Now that you mention that the recipient is elderly, that really makes a difference. Sometimes they are just too depressed to put much effort into keeping things alive, coupled with the generational mindset that you mentioned Tiffany. Someone who's depressed or physically unable to care for them, can see the beauty in plants and even enjoy it, but may be incapable of giving the attention it needs to keep it going--remembering to water (or even when of if they did so, thus over watering), etc. For my elderly friends, plants I give are a gift of love, whether they keep them alive for long or not, as long as they get some enjoyment from them. For some it may just be nostalgia, and that's fine with me too. It doesn't keep me from sharing.
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
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RickM
Jan 3, 2017 10:05 AM CST
Rather than make a special effort, I check with people that have expressed an interest when I know I'm going to be thinning/splitting/removing anything. That way, I'm not setting aside something that they changed their mind about.

We also have a community Facebook page and Next Door set up. When I know I'm going to be doing maintenance, I post a note with a response deadline. (I also threaten to throw the remains on the compost heap, which helps move people off the fence.) When I need to thin my spiders in the fall, I post a note and the pups are all gone within the week. I also have a few hosta and liriope that I do this with. as well.

But make no mistake, I honestly have no problem throwing some things on the heap. I just don't have room for it all. Sighing!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jan 3, 2017 10:28 AM CST
I also have some friends like that..lots of adulation about my plants, and wishes they have some...but once you give them some and explain the care that goes with it, their eyes glass over and you can just sense they don't want that effort after all.

So I have learned to take it with a grain of salt when I hear them saying something nice, sometimes, they are just happy to see the happy plants, but not really into growing them.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jan 3, 2017 1:45 PM CST
Had a neighbor express interest in one of my Lamiums, told them they were welcome to dig some...but that they were very aggressive and you need to stay on top of the growth. Now she complains that they got out of control (my fault) Smiling
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Jan 3, 2017 2:01 PM CST
And I have a neighbor who has made several disparaging comments about a clump of bamboo between our properties which I've had longer than he has been a neighbor and it has only modestly increased in girth. I keep assuring him it is a clumper rather than a runner, but he's heard too many horror stories about bamboo I guess. I've actually been trying to propogate the clump, no telling what he'll think of that... In my mind, it is a very well behaved visual barrier that does not steal too much of his sun (he is down slope from us on the north), looks nice year round, and blends well with the pasture between us. Go figure.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jan 3, 2017 2:04 PM CST
Did a design for a public building as a volunteer project, clumping grasses were part of the plan. The mx supervisor would not use them...same thought process, all grasses run, could not convince him otherwise, even with documentation.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
[Last edited by crawgarden - Jan 3, 2017 2:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
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RickCorey
Jan 3, 2017 5:00 PM CST
Deb, my theory about your anti-bamboo neighbor is the general principal that the less someone knows about a topic, the more sure they are that they know ALL about it.

Tiffany and Deborah, I agree that age, pain, weakness, reduced energy, reduced mobility and depression all prevent people from doing what they would like to do. But it might not keep us from running off our mouths about what we would LIKE to do!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 3, 2017 5:30 PM CST
purpleinopp said:
Do you have one of these? What in the world do you do?


Whenever someone expresses an interest or admires a landscape or flowering plant I don't give them cuttings or plants as gifts. I invite them to the local plant swap. If they are serious and really want the plants they will attend.

There were several people in my previous neighborhood who admired the edible plants in my garden; to those people I just said, "Come anytime and take all you want". Thumbs up



Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
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RickM
Jan 3, 2017 6:18 PM CST
Let me put it this way... If I ever hit the lottery, I know of a nursery or two that had better stand by to stand by. 'Cause I'm a comin' Hilarious!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Jan 6, 2017 6:41 PM CST
Some people are better at talking than they are at listening.
A lot, actually. Rolling my eyes.
I think many gardeners are the opposite.
So I think sometimes we hear things they don't actually mean to say. nodding
I haven't found myself in your same position, Tiffany, that I recall. I do sometimes take extra plants to work as 'free to good home' and am happy not knowing when/if those fail. Maybe like a gift, one must just give and cut all strings to the gift-plant. And if asked later to remove said gift... sigh, and give the gift of labor as you have.. and then never give a plant again.. to a non gardener. Shrug!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 6, 2017 6:48 PM CST
sallyg said:Some people are better at talking than they are at listening.
...
So I think sometimes we hear things they don't actually mean to say. nodding
...
Maybe like a gift, one must just give and cut all strings to the gift-plant.
...


That was all really well said.

Assuming that someone MEANT what they said might be over-optimistic.

A gift with any strings is not a pure gift.

Remember who says things they don't mean.

Try to remember that not everyone is a gardener. That's hard for me, I know!

Once the plant leaves home, it is on its own.

(Maybe think of giving away plants as like a dandelion dispersing its seeds. If 1,000 seeds blow into the wind, all it takes is ONE of those 1,000 to take root, to continue the species. And many people are NOT fertile soil for plants!)


Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Jan 6, 2017 6:51 PM CST
I would rather gift a plant to someone who may get only a short appreciation of it than toss it into the compost. Give it a pat on the head and whisper 'good luck' as it goes down your driveway.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Jan 6, 2017 6:53 PM CST
Yes!

And it might just go to seed while the recipient isn't paying attention and then establish itself in the new site.

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