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."
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.