Americans love to garden. There’s a garden store on every corner, and garden centers do a booming business among the approximately 117 million Americans who work in their yard garden or on landscaping projects. In fact, about 30% of all households will buy at least one houseplant, and American gardeners spend over $47 billion a year on items related to their lawns and gardens. Whether you love going to the garden store or not, you’ll love knowing these amazing facts about the pastime of gardening.
- Growing hemp is nothing new. In fact, both President George Washington and President Thomas Jefferson had plantations that grew cannabis, though they were growing it for making clothing and rope.
- “Garden” and “yard” come from the same word. That word is from the Old English (commonly considered a language all its own, though certainly a progenitor of modern English). In Old English the word for “fence” is geard, and it is from this word that we get our modern terms.
- Gardening is a really old past time. No one knows when the first garden store was built, but we do have a garden design manual that’s about 2,400 years old. It’s called De architectura libri decem and comes from ancient Rome.
- Agatha Christie had to get it from somewhere. Agatha Christie, the prolific British murder mystery author, often used poisons as her murder weapon of choice. It only seems natural then that England is home to the Poison Garden, where 100 deadly plant species thrive, and visitors are not allowed to smell, taste, or touch anything.
- Newspapers destroy a lot of trees. The Sunday edition of the New York Times requires about 63,000 trees to produce.
- You really, really, really shouldn’t pick mushrooms unless you’re an expert. North America is home to over 10,000 species of mushrooms. The good news is that the majority of them won’t kill you. The bad news is that there are about 200 that are poisonous. The really bad news is that about 12 of those will kill you, and there’s no antidote.
- Know your fruits! The jury is still out about genetically modified fruit, but if you care about that look at the labels on your fruit. They all have a number. If the number is four digits, it’s been grown conventionally. If there are five digits and the first one is 9, you’re holding a piece of organically grown fruit. If there are five digits and the first one is 8, then you’ve got genetically modified fruit.
- A rose by any other name… Speaking of fruit, your cherries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears, and peaches are actually from the rosaceae plant family, making them first cousins to those long-stemmed roses.
- You have a lot of houseguests on your property. If you were to take a teaspoon of the dirt from your yard and garden and examine it under a powerful electron microscope, you would find that there were more microorganisms in that one teaspoon of soil than there are human beings living on the face of the planet.
- Plants do love the sound of your voice. It’s long been an old wives’ tale bandied about the local plant nursery and garden store that talking to your plants makes them grow. Turns out that’s not an old wives’ tale at all. Various scientific studies have found that sound vibrations can indeed help plants grow more.
- We don’t actually eat all that many types of plants. When you walk into the grocery store or the garden store, it might seem like we’re eating thousands of different types of plants. In reality, the world’s food supply is totally dependent upon just 150 species of plant. Out of those 150, just 12 of them, including wheat, potatoes, corn, and rice, make up 75% of the food our world eats.
There are plenty more amazing facts about plants and our relationship with them. Let this be your inspiration to take a trip to an outside garden center and check out the possibilities!