A tonic (and gin) to ease Restless Gardener Syndrome

Erin Schanen

    A garden bench is the most aspirational accessory you can put in your yard. People trick themselves into thinking that if they put something to sit on their garden that they will actually sit.
    Gardeners know this is impossible, for the moment you sit in the garden you will spot weeds from a new angle, see flowers that need to be deadheaded and spy a plant that needs staking. Resistance is futile. It is scientifically impossible for a gardener to sit in their garden for any length of time.
    On a recent attempt to sit on the patio nestled in the garden, I made it four minutes and 23 seconds before I could no longer contain myself and popped up to deadhead a spent dahlia that had somehow escaped the wrath of my pruners earlier in the day.
    But I have good news for my fellow gardeners. I have discovered a cure — a tonic, if you will — for Restless Gardener Syndrome.  
    No, I mean it’s literally tonic. With gin.
    After years of rigorous trials, I have found the perfect garden cocktail to be a gin and tonic. This after testing a variety of concoctions involving at least two other types of spirits, a variety of fruit juices and every kind of wine you can imagine.
    It was during these trials that I learned that gin can vary dramatically, incorporating nuanced flavors that are either delightfully refreshing and exotic or a bit like sucking on a tree branch. My current favorite is a Scottish gin called The Botanist, which claims to contain 22 hand-foraged local botanicals and nine berries, barks, seeds and peels. I’ll have to take their word for it because I don’t know what bark tastes like.
    Mixed with a tonic that isn’t overly sweet, it makes a fine drink. But the real magic happens in the garnishing phase. A lime wedge is traditional, of course, but an orange slice is a nice change. Cucumbers, basil, rosemary and mint, all picked from the garden, also make excellent additions.
    Such a cocktail is refreshing enough to quench the thirst of a long day in the garden and bright enough to keep a sufferer of Restless Gardener Syndrome alert enough to enjoy the small pleasures of the garden without noticing work to be done. Hummingbirds that zip around the garden and honey bees covered in bright yellow pollen put on a good show if you slow down long enough to notice.
    By my calculation, the time it takes to drink one gin and tonic is exactly the amount of time it takes to recognize that appreciating the beauty of the gardens we create is far better enjoyed when you aren’t so focused on what’s not perfect.
    So if you find yourself with a garden bench that’s never been sat on or a patio that’s not being put to good use, you might be suffering from Restless Gardener Syndrome. I recommend a gin and tonic enjoyed from a spot as close to plants as you dare. But take your pruners with you, because you just never know.


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login