When you picture a person tending to a garden, do you picture a man or a woman? Gardening is still viewed as something predominantly women are invested in, though this could very well be just a bit if common misconception. Women are seen as homemakers and mothers, whereas men are seen as sports-loving fix-its. However, this is the state of things where I’m from – you’ll rarely find a man who is not glued to the TV watching football or golf. So, generally speaking, which sex plants, trims, and waters the plants more often?
I must admit that I am guilty of it myself. When I have a gardening question, I usually turn to women in my family and neighbourhood, but that’s only because I already know what their gardens look like and who tends to them. So, there is a kind of social stigma surrounding male gardeners. Men who garden are rarely admired and are considered wishy-washy sometimes.
Gardening has not always been seen as something gender-specific. In fact, many artists that shifted the way we see the world have also dabbed in botany, like Claude Monet and Leonardo da Vinci. Some of my favourite TV presenters on gardening shows are male. So why is it that we don’t always perceive gardening as something manly?
People tend to attribute technical trouble-shooting skills to males, while roles that require nurturing and organizing are usually attributed to women, or that was the way things were up until relatively recently. The idea behind this notion was that men are cold and logical, whereas women are caring and empathetic. While I have met both men and women exhibiting these qualities, the notion is general to a fault and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Who Does What?
When discussing gardening, men and women are sometimes focused on different things. Women are focused on the overall impression the garden will make. This includes picking out the right flowers and seeds for a particular location. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in the grunt work, like cutting down a tree, ploughing the entire yard, and setting up a vegetable garden. Mind you, these are still general principles and should not be used to prove a point.
As to why, let me just say that I have known some of my female neighbours to tend to the garden only to one-up someone else. There are also those that are doing the bare minimum of gardening, so as not to incur the shame and the judgment of the community for an unkempt lawn. On the other hand, men are usually focused on the practicality of things. Having a nice place to sit outside and do nothing is what my younger brother enjoys most of all.
Gardening is just barely predominantly female. However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your hobby. If we are being absolutely honest here, men are just as capable and as artistic as women in the garden. The optimal care for the garden would come with a pair of equal horticulturalists – one male and one female. It’s even better if it is the hobby of the entire household. A bit of family fun that will improve the look of your garden and allow you to spend quality time together cannot be all that bad. Don’t let this divide you from the people you care about.