It’s gardening season, woohoo!
If you’ve ever been to a garden centre, you’ll know why the expression “leading you down the garden path” means “deceiving you”. I’ve been sucked in by their euphemisms more times than I can count, so today I’m going to translate some common plant-sales wording for the benefit of less jaded experienced gardeners:
“This vigorous plant will thrive anywhere”: This innocent-looking scrap of greenery is a monster poised to attack. As soon as you place it in the ground, it will shoot twelve-foot-long roots in all directions and new plants will spring from every inch of the roots. If you attempt to pull it out, every tiny segment of remaining root will form a new mother plant with its own set of twelve-foot-long roots and plague of invasive children.
“This delightful woodland favourite prefers dappled shade and moist well-drained humus-rich soil”: It’ll die no matter where you put it.
“Easy to grow”: …If you’re a master gardener.
“Plant these seeds as soon as soil can be worked in spring”: …But they won’t actually grow then. This is just a clever way to make you buy a second $5.95 packet of seeds after the first batch rots in the cold soggy soil.
“These seeds require light to germinate”: These seeds won’t germinate. Ever.
“Attracts birds to your garden”: Cut off its flowers the instant they fade, otherwise it’ll spew out so many seeds you’ll spend the rest of your life weeding.
“Drought-tolerant”: …As long as your definition of ‘drought’ is “an inch of rain per week”.
“Will even grow in dry shady trouble spots”: Yes, it will. But it’ll send out tendrils to scout for better conditions, and when it finds them… see “This vigorous plant…” above.
“Requires support”: It’s a pathetic weedy vine.
“Requires a sturdy trellis”: It’ll leap out of the ground like Jack’s beanstalk and within weeks will thicken to a woody rope that scrambles up the trellis and onto the neighbouring tree, where it will subsequently crush the trellis to dust and strangle the tree. If the trellis is attached to your house, you’d better sleep with an axe under your pillow and ten gallons of weed killer beside your bed.
“Blooms from May to September”: Theoretically, ten minutes in July is within the range of ‘May to September’.
“Non-invasive”: …If you live in the arctic.
“Forms a neat mounded clump”: …In June. By August it’s a mess of leggy stems flopped over in all directions.
“Semi-evergreen”: Completely deciduous except for one ugly leaf that clings to the stem all winter like dirty underwear tied to a flagpole.
“Evergreen”: Mottled olive-drab is technically a shade of green.
“Hardy once established”: It’ll probably live, if it doesn’t die first.
“Fast-growing”: Don’t lean over it while you’re planting unless you want to be impaled by the branches shooting skyward. And you might as well buy a chainsaw right now, ’cause you’re gonna need it.
“Slow-growing”: If you’re over the age of two, don’t bother planting it. You won’t live long enough to see it reach its mature height.
“Hardy to Zone x”: Make that “Zone x, minus 1 or 2”.
“Gardening is an inexpensive and relaxing hobby”: I’ve got some swampland to sell you…
Chime in, gardeners! What’s the best gardening euphemism you’ve heard?
P.S. Still no word from Amazon about why the pre-orders for Book 13 didn’t show up on Amazon Canada, UK, Australia, or any other marketplace except the U.S. They promised to get back to me today, so… fingers crossed…