By Mary Lynn Bruny

I’ve been very focused on not getting COVID-19 during this pandemic which is probably why I recently fell prey to another affliction: spring fever.

My fever started – as these things often do – without my even noticing. I think I got it when the weather initially turned warmer and I inhaled a deep breath of fresh air while taking out the recycling (without a stinky mask on – such a wild thing). Then yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to pop into a local gardening nursery and buy a few herbs.

For me, buying herbs in very early spring is like a gateway drug to my heavy plant acquisition phase to come, when I will need professional help to stop my obsessive gardening addiction (help I will not seek, of course). I know this but thought I could handle things better this year (surely I’m older and wiser now), and just buy two herbs we often use for cooking. Ha! What hubris! I left the nursery with a big box of herbs, most which have no culinary function but are interesting looking and smell good.

Of course I should have known better. There is no local environment more intoxicating in March for Colorado gardeners than a nursery. They are beautiful and warm and humid with wonderful aromas. Seeds and plant starts hint to lush gardens ahead. There are other spring fever affected gardeners ambling about with looks of hope and happiness on their faces. Highly infectious enthusiasm ripples through the place. It’s an undeniably force and one gets carried away on the wave, and suddenly you’re loading a box of plants into the trunk of your car.

This is something I see that all ardent gardeners suffer from: “too much enthusiasm” syndrome. Gardeners are forever biting off more than they can chew. “Yes, let’s triple our vegetable garden this year and grow everything from seed in hot houses!” “Yes, let’s turn our half-acre easy-care lawn into a pollinators’ garden which will require months of backbreaking work to create and maintain.”

It’s when you combine “too much enthusiasm” syndrome with spring fever that things really get crazy for gardeners: They simply have no control. Sometimes an uninfected partner holds these impulses in check, though not always. (In my younger years, I would sneak plants into the garage and hide them under my car until I planted them.) The worst situation is when the gardener’s partner is a co-gardener or an enabler.

My husband used to hold me somewhat accountable but over the years he has gone to the dark side and become an enabler. Thus, when I came home yesterday with a box of herbs – again, half of which have no real function except being pretty – he was quite pleased. It occurred to me that after years together he was used to getting an early spring plant fix too. Poor guy. I have infected him.

Besides the financial burden of this affliction there is another ugly side: “the day after the trip to the nursery” fatigue. This is when the acquisition high plummets to the reality low. Suddenly there are lots of green babies (Did I really buy that many?) that now need to be planted.

After decades of gardening, how is it possible I do not have enough pots for all these herbs I bought yesterday? I know what this means: another trip to the nursery. I’m sure I’ll be able to come home with just a few pots. Like a true gardener I am forever hopeful.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her by e-mail at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to