Carol at May Dreams Gardens has asked another question and I've been dying to read other responses but wanted to think mine through first...so here they are...
Do you consider yourself a gardener?
Yes...that's why I'm always out there playing.
How did you decide you were a gardener?
Probably when I realized I needed to garden for my mental health...it works to energize me, calm me down, and make me feel good. No matter how hard the work might be, or even if the outcome is not what I hoped for (plants dying or not living up to expectations, snails eating the lettuce before I can, etc,) I find it to be fun and satisfying in the end and apparently worth it...because I just keep starting over!
When is the first time you referred to yourself as a gardener?
I don't remember...but I've always gardened, even as a child, and have had my own garden since I was in college.
Where and how did you learn to be a gardener?
Some of my best childhood memories are of helping my parents in our yard, planting and eating peas, cucumbers, radishes. My maternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother both had large gardens. These things all taught me that there was value in gardening. But I learned most of the nuts and bolts (seeds and bulbs?) of gardening from years of trial and error, years of reading every type of garden writing I could find, and the Sunset Garden Book.
Has anyone ever introduced you to someone else as a gardener?
Yes, whenever garden/plant/hobby conversations come up.
When someone tells you they are a gardener, what image of them does it bring to mind? What do you expect of them?
I picture someone who enjoys and needs to garden and someone gets their energy from gardening. I expect them to do their own planning and to do all the work they are physically capable of doing. Other people doing your work means you have a garden...not that you are a gardener. And maintaining a garden is not really enough...I think real gardeners need to keep adding, changing, adjusting, experimenting because it is the physical act that is enjoyable. Just like artists always start another picture, quilters always make another quilt, authors always write another book.
Can a gardener live where there is no place to plant anything, and still remain a gardener?
Yes, because being a gardener is what you are in your soul...but I imagine it would be difficult to be happy or centered until you find a place to garden...a community garden, a school or a friend's place?
What about horticulturalists? Are they a subset of “gardeners” or a whole different group?
Subset...you might become a horticulturalist because you are a gardener but most gardeners wouldn't need to in order to be happy...and I don't think it adds to the joy and peace gardening can provide. It's just another way to follow your passion.
I'm thinking about why some people are gardeners and other aren't, and how buying a greenhouse won't suddenly make someone a gardener.