So what about extreme gardening? What might that look like?
- Gardening on someone else’s land or public land, e.g. in a park or on a boulevard. The last is known as “guerrilla gardening.”
- Stealing plants for your garden.
- Growing dangerous plants, such as giant hogweed, poison ivy, or poison hemlock.
- Growing a garden of weeds (bindweed, thistles, stinging nettle, Japanese knotweed).
- Not deadheading plants like purple toadflax or rose campion, i.e., letting them seed freely.
- Growing tropical plants in non-tropical places; or, for that matter, alpine plants in lowlands, desert plants in rainforests, etc.
- Growing plants on a vertical surface.
- Growing trees in your house.
- Growing Himalayan blue poppies.
- Engaging in marathon pruning, weeding, or digging sessions.
- Gardening in the nude.
I’ve actually done some of these things. Guess which ones…
The consequences and dangers of the above list include: getting arrested, skin irritation, poisoning, illness, hospitalization, lawsuits, infected wounds, sore muscles, back injuries, disappointment, frustration, weariness, and death. Notably missing is the adrenaline rush which is the main point of most extreme sports. (Well, OK, there might be a small thrill in digging up a plant from a garden that isn’t yours and vanishing into the night. But see the list of consequences.)
Unfortunately for the extremist, gardening is not a sport that produces adrenaline rushes. For one thing, results are usually slow to appear. The gardener’s main reward is occasional fits of quiet awe, in which he or she stands gazing at a plant or group of plants with a happy, vacant smile on their mug.