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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gardener's Compulsive Plant Naming Disorder (CPND)


Disclaimer: image above is just a pretty picture I'm hoping will grab your attention. It has nothing what-so-ever to do with this post.

I've got this compulsive disorder that seems to be developing as a result of gardening and I'm curious if anybody else has it.

I compulsively name plants as I walk by them.  I don't do this out loud (thank goodness) so nobody ever knows but I can't seem to help myself.  It usually only happens when I walk by a long mixed- border type of flower bed.  For example, every morning as I walk in to work I pass by the same garden beds that line the foundation of the building where I work.  It is about two blocks long and has a variety of flowers and shrubs but for the most part they keep the same plantings there all the time.  Even though I can sit here and tell you every single plant in the bed, I still name them as I walk by them every morning.

My daily stream of consciousness

Hosta, Spirea, Heuchera...I hope I'm not late for my first meeting...

Fragrant Viburnum, Lilly, Ornamental Grass (which one is that)...I hope everybody has their timecards done on time today...

Other Hosta (wonder which one that is), Daylily, dead Spirea (this thing has been dead for over a year why don't they replace it?)...why am I naming these plants again!

I have no other compulsive disorders that I know of and though this one is very harmless, it's so annoying! 

Does anybody else compulsively name plants to themselves or do I need to be institutionalized?


  1. LOL - I do it out loud, in the car with my kids. Sometimes, I even jump out of the car and take pictures.

    We were driving somewhere yesterday, and my 11 year old said, "Look at that Bee Balm with the bad powdery mildew, Mom." Then she smacked her forehead and said, "I shouldn't KNOW what that plant is - you turned me into a plant geek!"

  2. I do it all the time & usually in Latin. :-D My kids aren't as brainwashed, I mean educated, as Matriarchy's, she's doing a better job than I am.

  3. I do that, and even worse, I do it while I'm weeding: lambs quarters, dandelion, hmm, I wonder what that is?, crabgrass, other kind of grass, wait! that's a Johnny-jump-up seedling, leave that . . .

    When my now 15yo was three, he used to toddle around with me on my morning garden patrol. Consequently he knew at that tender age that black-eyed Susan was also called Rudbeckia. Not sure if he's made much progress since then.

  4. I always do that, sometimes out loud. Yesterday I had to stop my friends on the way to lunch so I could photograph a plant for my blog.

  5. Is this unusual? Just thought it was normal. Maybe it is not normal.

  6. Gina, you might be becoming an official Gardenerd. I've done that for years. I sometimes don't even realize it, but I'm always naming plants to myself.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  7. Isn't it nice to know that we're in good company?

  8. Gina-
    I used to make a concerted effort to learn the botanical nomenclature for each variety. Over the past 5 years, I've given up and am just happy to know that it's an echinacea, monarda, panicum, etc. And I keep lousy records of what I buy. So even if I wanted to go back and catalogue specific plants, I wouldn't be able to. I don't do what you do consciously but am aware of what plant material I's not a bad habit. Good post...different. Fran

  9. Hilarious! Yes, I have done this. Good to know it won't be lonely in the padded room.