University of Georgia's famed football coach is passionate about two things: football and gardening. In our Q & A, he talks about his biggest gardening challenge: "Trying to keep it up as I acquire more and more space and more plants. My mother used to say, 'Housework is never done.' The same can be said for gardening."
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You’ve said that your love of gardening grew out of a course you audited, while coaching at the University of Georgia. Was there a specific moment when you knew gardening was more than just a passing curiosity? The great thing about living around the university is that if you’ve got a curiosity about anything, you can satisfy it. I have always traditionally audited courses about subjects in which I’m interested, and I’ve always been interested in trees and plants, so I thought I’d take one horticulture course and be done with it. Before I knew it, I had been bitten by the bug for which there is no cure.
That was about 14 years ago, and I still love it. Before then, I had absolutely no idea about gardening. I had no background. In fact, I didn’t know many plants’ common names, so as a result of that course, I learned many botanical names before I learned the common names. Once you start to learn, however, you want to plant. Then you want to garden, and as I mentioned in the book, my first mentor in the garden was a guy named Henry, who taught me a lot of the fundamentals. Then I developed my first personal philosophy, which is to get one of every plant. It’s an impossible task, but I’m still trying.