What’s Your Gardening Personality?


I met Lenora Larson about 15 years ago in a parking lot before a healthcare presentation. I worked for the organization sponsoring the event and Lenora was representing a vendor. Without knowing anything about each other, we immediately “clicked” and exchanged business cards. And as these things go, that was the end of that.

But fate had something different in store for us. About a year later, the CEO of my company wandered down to my office and asked if I knew a “Lenora Larson.” A month or so later, Lenora was ensconced as Business Development Director, where she stayed for 13 years.

Owner of Longlips Farm (it used to be a goat farm) Lenora has spent the last three decades creating a series of gardens, with certification from the North American Butterfly Association and Monarch Watch. Her 27 acre property includes pasture, lake, swamp, and hardwood forest.

Lenora is my personal gardening mentor and my example of how to garden in Kansas. She’s a favorite speaker throughout Kansas and Missouri, known for her humor and enthusiasm. Today, I attended one of her talks – and one of my favorites – Your Gardening Personality.

Lenora starts with the premise of all personality tests: if you improve your self-knowledge, you will do (fill in the blank) better. During the ninety minute presentation, gardeners are asked to discover WHY and HOW they garden. By the end of the discussion and exercises – yes, Lenora uses tests – a gardener is ready to create their gardening Point of View.

Here is a part of Lenora’s POV:

“Long Lips Farm illustrates that the goals of beauty and wildlife habitat are not mutually exclusive. The two acre certified butterfly garden exemplifies the English Estate landscape style with flowing curves and masses of plant materials… Superimposed on the design are the specific plants that butterfly caterpillars need to survive… Despite rigid planning, self-sowing “thugs” are welcome and create an overall spontaneous effect dubbed “Controlled Chaos.” The needs of humans, insects and birds are met in harmonious beauty.”

Personality-mixed border 9-09-rev

As I start my own gardening adventure, I plan to intersperse my beginner efforts – and wish me beginner luck – with photos and stories about established gardens and the personalities of their gardeners.


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