Native Son: A Quirky Impulse

Steven with a specimen of Encephalartos woodii, the world’s rarest plant.

It all began with a random thought about a woman on a psychiatrist’s couch…

She sighed with frustration, ”I don’t even know where to begin…”

He sat forward with great concern, and said, “Start with your decision to steal the Stradivarius and we’ll go backward from there.”

As a writer, I loved how a single quirky impulse can launch any story into the outer limits. Being a garden guy, I couldn’t help myself…

She sighed with frustration, ”I don’t even know where to begin…”

He sat forward with great concern, and said, “Start with your decision to steal the $5000 orchid and we’ll go backward from there.”

Continued Below

Then I got to thinking about real gardeners and their real impulses. Most are not going to steal expensive orchids, but they do have some interesting impulses.

He said, “Start with your decision to procure 42 pallets of shredded hardwood mulch for your quarter-acre lot and we’ll go backward…”

“…start with your decision to tell your out of town guests that you own the Dallas Arboretum and we’ll…”

“…decision to buy a lawn tractor big enough to mow the entire King Ranch…”

“…bedazzle matching overalls for you and your husband to wear to the garden show…”

“…interrupt Neil Sperry mid-program with your classic 1966 story about Cousin Verne’s mutated cantaloupe that kinda looked like Howdy Doody…”

“…have sixteen tons of nearly-composed cow manure delivered to the AgriLife Extension office, just in time for the Christmas party…”

“…sell the ranch and move to a 1000-acre Himalayan Blue Poppy farm in Nepal…”

“…coerce your hubby and his buddy, ‘Tank,’ into building a nuclear-powered fire ant death-ray machine out of that old microwave…”

“…find yourself swooning over a stock photo of P. Allen Smith…”

“…perform a hostile take-over for controlling interest in the FELCO Pruners Corporation…”

“…legally acquire naming rights to the first genetically-engineered organic tomato…”

“…emphatically explain to your wife that yes, your purchase of a Stihl 880 Magnum chainsaw with a 48” bar was absolutely necessary, even though you live in a townhouse…”

“…hire a guy named Zero to ‘take care of’ the president of your HOA so you can actually garden…”

“…purchase the entire inventory of Garden Love blouses from Coldwater Creek, just so you and your BFF would be the only ladies to wear them…”

“…stage a coup d’état of the entire Texas Master Gardener Association, just so you can rule it with an iron fist…”

“…proudly display an ‘I’ve Got Worms!’ bumper sticker on your new Tesla…”

“…wear your tie-dyed, psychedelic ‘Age of Asparagus’ tee shirt to church—on Easter Sunday…”

“…borrow 27 goats to unleash on Mable Jones’ ‘Yard of the Month’ while she’s at her weekly hair appointment…”

“…experience a full-body shiver when you see Greg Grant on Aisle 7 at the grocery store…”

“…find yourself asking the military surplus store guy if plutonium will kill gophers…”

“…casually ask the Game Warden about the dates of his next vacation while you’re planning next year’s deer-free veggie garden…”

“…explain to the kid in the apron at the garden center, for the 16th time, that you want ‘flowers that attract butterflies but not bees,’ but it’s okay if a few bees visit while you’re sleeping…”

“…explain to your hubby that you’ve just bought Stuart’s Nursery in Weatherford because it makes you ‘feel young again’ every time you visit…”

“…find yourself in full denial when your dream of building an ‘In Harmony With Nature’ winery in Wimberley is confronted with the hard fact that deer absolutely love grapes…”

“…later wonder why, in your 3:12am moment of genius inspiration, you ordered ninety-six packets of bitter cucumber seed from …”

“…develop a migraine trying to wrap your brain around why those expensive deerskin gardening gloves you bought are too nice to mess up by gardening in them…”

“…scour the internet for a black market Encephalartos woodii, then complain about the price that DarkLord999 is asking…”

“…defend yourself when your spouse catches you reading this article instead of scooping the litter box, like you promised…

I need a road trip! Let me know if you’d like me to come and speak to your group sometime. I’m low maintenance, flexible, and you know I like to go just about anywhere. No city too big; no town to small. Just send me an e-mail at and we’ll work something out.

Come out and see me at Chandor Gardens! Located in the heart of Weatherford’s Historic District, Chandor Gardens is the perfect place to get away and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that can only be found in gardens. Call 817-613-1700 or visit for details.

Posted by Steven Chamblee
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