Confessions of a Outdoor Hoarder

May 31, 2021

Confessions of a Outdoor Hoarder

May 31, 2021

by Melody Kendall

There are programs on TV about hoarders and the perils involved in living in a house with such an ailment.  Well, I have come to the conclusion that I am an "outdoor" hoarder.  While this malady is not as limiting or as unhealthy as an indoor hoarder there are many similarities. 

• I just can't throw away any plant containers, be they the flimsy plastic ones the new plants come in or a terracotta pot with a crack on one side.  If a clay pot breaks, I put the pieces in a container because I might just want to create a mosaic at some point.  

• Then there are the garden implements.  Walking by the gardening tool section at my local hardware/nursery always results in a purchase of some tool that I need. My tool corral has turned into a tool pasture. 

• I must have twenty pairs of gloves — leather, gauntlets, stretch and plastic.  In fact, I recently put on a pair of gloves that I had had for so long that they just cracked and fell apart when I put them on!  

• Gardening hats of multiple sizes and styles adorn my upper shelves.  I mean I only have one head and can only wear one at a time. Same with gardening shoes … why do I need so many?  

• I've never passed up the chance to acquire used bricks.  When the earthquake happened a few years ago and some of the chimneys in the neighborhood fell down I was there with my wheelbarrow helping clean up their yard and bringing the bricks to mine.  I now have quite a stack ready for some future as yet decided on project 

• How about garden art?  That is really a sticky wicket.  Thank goodness with the recent shutdown craft fairs have been nonexistent.  Inevitably upon returning from one of those dangerous events I have a new glass wind chime or a metal art flower on a stake or a cute watering can or an angel for the deck railing. The list goes on.  

• Don't get me started on new plants. Not only can I not avoid purchasing new plants when going anywhere remotely resembling a nursery but friends and family seem oblivious to my malady and are constantly giving me plants and cuttings to grow.  

• I even ‘dumpster dive' to a certain extent. When I see someone in the neighborhood has thrown away something that might make a neat plant stand or a cool piece of art, I haul it home.

On many occasions I've walked blocks with my arms full of a great find.  

This situation came to a head when I was putting in some new drip irrigation lines and I uncovered an entire drawer of just bits and pieces of ½ inch and ¼  inch drip lines.  Some of these ‘bits' were only 4 inches long!  What was I thinking when I saved those?  I found a hose bib compression attachment that had a 3 inch length of ½ inch hose still attached.  I don't know if you've tried it but it is virtually impossible to remove a drip line from a compression connector. Once the hose is pushed on the compression connector it is there for eternity. Everything I've ever tried, pliers included, that piece of hose isn't coming off that compression attachment. So, this begs the question, why did I save it?  

Now that I've written all this down, I'm a little embarrassed.  Maybe my husband won't notice that I just brought home a geranium plant that someone had thrown, pot and all, in the gutter alongside the sidewalk. I'll make sure to water it once I have repotted the poor little thing in one of those saved terracotta pots.  Hmm, maybe I'll move that craft fair angel to another location so that the rescued geranium can sit on the deck railing ...

Master Gardeners are following recommended social distancing guidelines that keep everyone safe, Napa Master Gardeners are available to answer garden questions by email: or phone at 707-253-4143.  Volunteers will get back to you after they research answers to your questions.

Visit our website: to find answers to all of your horticultural questions.

Photo credits: Mel Kendall

Reference links:

UC IPM-Geranium

UCMG Marin County-Repotting container plants