doodle by andre: workin’ the 12 steps


TIME FOR AN INTERVENTION: We love you, but we also know you have a problem. Andre the doodler’s pointing fingers again. This is an illness, people; wake up and (don’t) smell the flowers!
The Twelve Steps start with admitting our powerlessness, and it’s all uphill, pushing a loaded wheelbarrow, from there:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over plants—that our lives had become unmanageable (even though the garden is looking really buff).
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (or at least reduce our annual expenditures by 10 percent).
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (and our beds and toolsheds, garden-book libraries and seed-catalog stash).
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs (give or take the part about the teeny obsession with pumpkins and Viburnum; best leave that bit out of these little confessional chats).
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character (but not the plants, please…can’t I keep the plants?).
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings (but leave the garden intact).
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all for having spent more on garden supplies than food, and having spent more time outside alone gardening than connecting with said injured persons.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, or interfere with our alone-time in the yard.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Maybe. Maybe not.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. (Good thing so much of gardening is done on your knees already, making this step easier and more natural-feeling.)
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to plant-aholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (Please note: This last one doesn’t allow you to go take their problem plants off their hands: That’s co-dependence, a whole other topic.)

Which step are you working? Me, I lost my way around Number 4 and am working the slogans instead: “Easy Does It,” and “Progress, Not Perfection,” specifically. It’s the best I can do right now, frankly, and it’s not even spring yet.

I need to go to more meetings, that much is certain. I suggest we meet at the garden center each week. Perhaps daily would be even more effective? Who’s in?

Categorieswoo woo
  1. andre says:

    Hello, My name is Andre

    I currently live in an apartment and I can’t stop thinking about throwing packets of country garden seeds into my neighbors garden.

    I think I might have to move.

  2. james says:

    I am James and I am a dreamer.

    I dream of gardening because I live in an apartment with no yard. I’m buying a house with a yard because I’m tired of just dreaming of gardening.


    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, James. Dreamers are especially welcome here (as per Andre’s comment). Good solution: upgrade one’s residence in order to garden large. See you soon again?

  3. jodi says:

    Oh, Margaret, this is incredibly funny. And true, which makes it that much funnier. Thank you for sharing…I may have to print this and put it up on my wall.

  4. Susan says:

    So glad Andre’s doodle was here today. Love the steps, so true. As Jodi said I will print this for my wall and to give as gifts.

  5. Anna says:

    Gardening Friends,

    Just a quickie to let you know how lucky you are to have freeze hearty plants. We southern folks have to cover and place light bulbs under the cover to survive the recent freezing nights. No, plastic please. It will show burn marks. Just save up your old sheets, and table cloths. Sometimes I do bring inside my newborns for extra protection.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Daffodil Planter. I don’t feel as if I am in a position to condemn or condone any aspect of horticultural addiction (pot calling kettle black?) so I will not judge your self-professed book “issue.” Hope to see you here again.

  6. Eric says:

    What the hell! Give yourself to the force! Come over to the dark green (and light green and red and orange and whatever) side. Garden with complete abandon. Resistance is futile, you have already been assimilated! (Insert maniacal laugh here.)

  7. chris says:

    i am chris, and i’ll keep my compulsions quite private, thank you.

    except to say, did you know that real gardeners don’t wear sunscreen and weed in the rain?

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Ivy Lane. Yes, indeed. I am currently avoiding perennial catalogs for fear of the binge that might ensue. Thanks for visiting.

  8. Carol, May Dreams Gardens says:

    Hi, my name is Carol. (Hi, Carol!) I bought more seeds today at the store, even after I had ordered seeds online from three different companies. I also spent time looking for crocuses and snowdrops after the snow melted. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

  9. Bobster says:

    Nothing quite like weeding in a warm rain Chris. Looking forward to the day… The rain that is, not so much the weeds.

    Margaret, is tomorrow’s meeting over in greenhouse #3 next to the hellebores & arisaema?

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Mary. And easy does it. (Of course, I observe none of these and just go at it 24/7 on high/full.) Thanks for visiting, and do come see us again. Spring is almost here.

  10. Cherylann says:

    If God (as we know him) did not want us to be obsessed by gardening, He wouldn’t have started things off in the Garden of Eden. The way I see it, we’re all just connecting with the essence of the universe as we seed and weed!

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Cherylann. Yes, indeed, forces bigger than ourselves set us off down the garden path. I hope we see you again here soon.

  11. Claudia says:

    The Steps are great. I have always told the garden center people that most people shop the malls, I shop the plants. I’m in for the meetings, too.

  12. Kellye says:

    Hi, my name is Kellye! I have problems with OSH, Home Depot, any seed catalog company and anything with color in general. I’ve given up and turned myself over to the Farmer’s Almanac. My Bay Area CA weather is too perfect, and almost frost free to not garden like a mad woman almost all year long. Help…me weed? =)

  13. Darla S. says:

    I found the perfect thing for my gardening addiction…. I have a part-time job at a local green house. Just a few hours a week (15-20) as a retired person this is enough. I get paid in PLANTS!!!!! I’ve been real good and not gone over the edge I don’t want my new neighbors to be jealous…..and it’s helping me with Number 8.
    I love your web site…

  14. Dee says:

    I thought I would stop once I used all the space on my balcony but low and behold my enabler “my apt complex” asked me to do a community garden, how can I possible stop now. So much for the slogans….

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