I've learned a lot writing this column over the years, but nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for this lesson: Don't write anything less than flattering about the art of gardening.
Holy potting soil. I was inundated with some of the angriest, foulest emails I have ever received after sharing my misguided attempt to harness my green thumb.
In the column, for those of you who missed it, I wrote about the back-breaking work of gardening, my ineptitude at it, coupled with an ensuing heat stroke that led to a lack of dedication to the task.
Apparently, that was enough to incense the the gardening community. Not only did I receive many emails from local gardeners, but the article was shared by a couple of gardening websites and blogs and the hate rained down like a summer thunderstorm.
There are some things that I write where I'll brace myself for the email attacks, but never did I imagine that making fun of my gardening skills would result in emails that were paragraphs long and full of disparaging remarks.
My one and only take away was: What's wrong with people? Oh, and what happened to having a sense of humor? It's gardening, not politics.
After reading every single email I got sad - for the people who wrote them. What must be going in your life where you get that angry over a column about digging up dead trees?
Many of the emails scolded me (using curse words) about why I didn't get started gardening in March and April or how I should have been organized and plotting out my garden plans in the winter.
Relax people. It's not like I'm your gardener and I messed up your yard. Also, maybe something catastrophic happened to me in the spring and that's why I had to dig up trees (or bushes) in June. Do the people who delight in sending out vicious emails ever consider that someone may have a back story?
My biggest shock was that most of the emails came from people over 55. I know this because they shared how long they had been gardening and by doing basic math I could figure out they were not youthful.
I'm sorry, but I expect more from people who have been blessed with the wisdom of life experience. I can’t fathom any scenario where my beloved, now deceased, parents would 1) send an email with curse words 2) send an angry email to a stranger and 3) would ever get that riled up over a woman's first person account about not being able to dig up a tree (or bush).
So, because I always like to say I'm a giver I'm going to "give" my "passionate" email writers something else to get mad about.
It's this advice: If you have that much free time and energy to send hate mail, then may I suggest channeling your rage into something positive. I hear some community gardens are looking for volunteers.