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My husband is terribly obsessed with our gardens - holiday home and permanent address. When at our holiday home he takes pictures of the garden, I did not not think it was because hee was checking up on me, but it was. I have taken out 2 plants which was one dead one ugly and put in 2 new ones and he raved about it so much we had a terrible argument about a dam garden en stupid plants...why is he so obsessed about it...

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jinglebts, what browser are you using? If you're using Firefox, where do you find the icons?

I do love maples, especially the Japanese maples. They're so delicate, so typically Japanese in that they're complimentary to that style of gardening, particularly the Zen gardens.

Were you able to save any seeds from that tree? My sister had a beautiful burgundy maple (I've never figured out the name of the specific variety). The leaves were leathery, unlike typical maple leaves. It produced a bounty of seedlings, which I painstakingly gathered to plant and start a bonsai maple garden....someday.

LINSAN, you probably don't want to hear this, but your father may have some innate gardening design traits that aren't recognized by those who aren't gardeners. That's not meant to be an insult.

Some of the most creative gardeners will push design boundaries and re-interpret them to their own standards. Planting in the middle of a lawn or other than the typical borders is one way of making gardening statements, and especially of changing the focal points and redirecting the eye away from what many consider boring lawns to more enticing and lovely trees and ornamentals.

Some of the magnificent formal gardens of France and England are beautiful beyond description, yet they're not the standard gardens of rows of vegetable plants. Check out Villandry and see how their garden staff blend vegetables into formal beds.

As to a "fine block of beautiful grass," your father may be in the same category as other gardeners, including me, who see grass as a water hog, something that doesn't produce anything except grass clippings, is high maintenance, and in years to come may go the way of the dodo bird as water becomes more scarce and not available for essentials like food.
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GA: Those icons appeared as little squares for me. I wonder why ... must be my browser.

Great insights into gardening! When I had the energy and could bend down to plant (or, more realistically, get to my feet again), I loved gardening. I miss it. I had a wonderful Japanese maple (with the feathery red leaves, not the broader ones), that looked something like an upside-down umbrella. Since we live in zone 5, I wasn't sure that it would survive, but our huge hedge made a micro-climate of the whole backyard -- truly beautiful. I've moved now, and how I miss that tree!
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Sorry, love your comment and love the flowers! I didn't think we could add little icons like that.
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Garden artist- that was a kinder response that I might have given. Kudos to you! 🌺🌸🌻💐🌷🌹🍄
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We have close contact and guidance from my Father's Dementia care physician and Memory Center. All you can really do in these cases is humor them unless they are harming someone or themselves!
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Regarding Dementia and obsessions, my Mom and I have the same experience with my Father. We live together and my Father has a very strange and annoying obsession with planting bushes and trees in random spots around the front and back yards. There is no rhyme or reason as to the placing of these things and they are in the middle of the lawns! It makes it difficult for mowing and ruins a perfectly fine block of beautiful smooth grass!!! There is no understanding of it! His explanations make no sense.... but we try to be patient and let it go. All I can say is that the moment he is gone (unfortunately) ALL of those bushes and trees will be REMOVED! UGGGGGG
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Spot on Garden Artist, he has perfected the astuteness in his life everwhere he is going....English is not my language and I had to go and check the word....yes you can learn from him as he is a manipulator en uses situations to his advantage, that is one stage that is not yet gone and I so wish it will go!!! thank you I have said enough ..END OF DISCUSSION FOR ME!!
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Maggie, thanks for the support. I couldn't help thinking how astute this man really is. I can learn from him.
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Maggie.....thank u. much appreciated....yes I am burnt out....this is not easy and yes I have decided to go with the flow and let him be...some day hopefully, sombody will clean up the mess left behand us....thank u again you inspired me. ps....I know about roundup...potent stuff!!
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@GardenArtist -- I wonder how many of us recognize how profound your comment is..."I think he's demonstrating tremendous creativity dealing with his dementia." Yes!!
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Irma, one of three things is going on here . . . And I'm sorry to say all of them are about you.

#1 -- Would you be angry at him if he was in diabetic shock? If you had a clear understanding about dementia, the stages, the in-and-outs od lucidity, I doubt you would come across so angry.

#2 -- You maybe burned out with his "nonsensical behavior" and really need to have a break. Or focus more on your own mental health than on his for a change. Happens to every family caregiver on planet earth.

#3 -- You're angry at your circumstances. Not where you pictured your life, is it? Very few of us on this site can't relate to that. Especially ESPECIALLY those caring for spouses with dementia. God's worst practical joke of all sans childhood illness.

My best advice to you is that old adage...let it go in one ear and out the other. Master those two words that have brought peace to the lives of married couples down through the ages -- "Yes, dear." And AND take care of yourself. Mani pedi's, girlfriend lunches and dinners, outings with your children, your siblings, your friends, your church, your senior center.

Oh! And try really hard to keep your sense of humor and practice sighing quietly to yourself. If none of those things work, watch for a sale on Roundup at the garden store. ;)

God bless. Wish you well.
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I wasn't trying to provide lessons in gardening, but rather into the insight which makes people love it so much. Sorry that apparently wasn't conveyed.

Good luck with finding help for your husband; he's suffering and I think in his own way trying to find something helps him. Actually, even though he may have been verbally rude to you, I think he's demonstrating tremendous creativity in dealing with his dementia.

Best wishes to you in finding assistance.
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I agree 100% with what GardenArtist wrote, as I use to enjoy gardening, and so did my parents. My sig other would concrete the whole lawn if he could, he has no use for plants :P

Irmagroenewald, I remember my Dad use to be obsessed over the weather and it wasn't dementia related, it was something my Dad enjoyed doing. I use to ask my Mom how does she deal with it, as Dad will tell me that the schools in Chicago are closed due to snow and I am thinking why do I need to know that as I live in Virginia?... but Mom told me "at least I know where he is" meaning in front of the weather map, on the weather websites, or outside looking at the weather.
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Thank u for your looooooooooooooong answer....realy not interested in lessons of gardening but lessons in how to handle a dimensia patient who is not a plant but a person with a death threatening decease!!! and I dont interfere with his gardening, nature does it by itself!!!
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As someone who gardens, perhaps what you might consider obsessively, there's an entirely different perspective that you're missing.

Gardening is one of the processes, like art, which create something out of basically nothing. A gardener sees soil as life giving, life sustaining, capable of creating great beauty. Some gardeners are like canvas artists; do some research and check out knot gardens - look at Villandry, Chenonceau - they're masterpieces, equivalent in gardening terms to a Mona Lisa.

The satisfaction created from gardening can sometimes not even be described - it's exciting (watching for the first little sprout, the first bud, the change of color), it's rewarding (seeing the beauty that one produces and brings into the world).

It isn't just plopping a plant here and there. Gardeners study sunrises and sunsets, note hours of sun and shade, study rainfall patterns, and use this data to optimize the best sites for the best plants. Some even plant by moon cycles.

We use companion planting, using certain plants to provide protection to others, creating a symbiosis and sometimes micro environments.

We recycle, we compost, we create a bond with the earth and the seasons. We treat the land with respect. Many of us refuse to use any chemicals at all, studying and implementing methods which are natural and safe to us, animals and the plants. And our methods are healthier for the environment because the pesticide residues don't drift into surrounding areas.

We also produce safe food, food grown w/o pesticides, genetically modified seeds and plants, and food that feeds and nourishes us and our families. It's real food, not that crap in the stores that passes for food and which has often been grown with chemicals and doused with chemicals in order to meet commercial viability standards rather than safe food standards.

And we also act as artists, creating beauty for us as well as others to enjoy.

Read about some of the famous English gardeners, including David Austin and his work in hybridizing roses. He's created so much beauty for so many people - look at his gift to the world!

I don't agree that it's appropriate to blame the OP for gardening mishaps; that happens naturally. Not everything that's sprouted will thrive.

I think it's more that he's trying to salvage some semblance of control over his life and resents her interference, and/or blames her for situations that occur which he either doesn't understand or know how to address.

This man's gardening is NOT an obsession; it's a discovery in creativity for him. It may be at this stage of his life it restores some self respect, some relish for life in one area as he's declining in other areas. Respect it for what it is.
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I would discuss it with his doctor, but also, I would read as much about dementia as possible. Obsessing is not unusual with dementia. My loved one obsessed with a couple of things with her dementia. One thing that totally engrossed her was her cat. She would constantly watch the cat, worry about the cat, talk about the cat, etc. She was terrified the cat could escape from the house through a hole the size of a pea. She could not be consoled. She became very agitated and anxious due to her cat. She loved the cat, but it brought her so much misery from the anxiety, that it was a negative.

When she went to assisted living, the cat was returned to the no kill shelter where she had adopted it, without her knowledge. Over the next year, she has forgotten all about the cat and never mentions it, so the obsession may leave on its own.

I would read online about how to deal with your husband's obsession with his garden. A lot involves patience and understanding that it's brain damage that is causing this behavior. It's not personal.

I will say that until his progression leads him away from that obsession, it's not likely he will settle down with it, without medication. I think anxiety meds really do help. I would discuss that with his doctor.
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So, I think you need to talk to his doctor about the change in his mental status.
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He is dimensia stage 4.....forgets a lot of things, but is not bored at all, he is still working although he gets very tired...comes home early like 1-2 pm and sleeps for 2 hours then fine again. He is very short fused lately, the gardens started about 1 year ago (we had garden services all our lives)..I was the one maintaining the beds, flowers, shrubs, planting new stuff, everything, he always joked and said look at my lovely garden....so he started planting stuff that is not suitable for the holiday home as it is too close to the ocean and does not last, thousands of rands later we came up with a solution of sertain plant witch grows...then he told me not to plant any more or take out stuff, witch I did not, it died by itself....then he started blaming me for killing them, which I did not....then he started taking the pictures to see what dies and what not.....when we get back at the holiday home (where I sometimes stays longer than he does) he immidiately goes to the garden and starts blaming me of killing plants and trees....he is not in such a state that he does not understand what we faught about, he is still very clear day to day, does forget a lot of stuff but can still remember which plants were planted where and has died...so no I dont think I was unreasonable, and I will not say sorry for anything I said, because he has never and will never in the 35 years of marriage say his sorry about anything ....he always thinks his way is the right way.....the only thing I wanted to know is WHY THE OBSESSION WITH THE GARDENS all of a suddon....
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Irmagroenewald, could you provide a little more background, please? This is a caregiving web site, so I take it that you are caring for your husband? Why does he need a caregiver? What are his disabilities?

Obsession CAN be a symptom of dementia. Has he been diagnosed with dementia? Do you suspect it? Has he ever shown obsessive tendencies before?

As obsessions go, this sounds like a harmless one, and even one that can be useful in keeping him occupied.

Without knowing more background and based just on your single post, I think you may have come up with a very good solution. Allow the garden to be exclusively his. Don't ever touch it again without including him. Now depending on what is really behind this, I'm not so keen on you telling him to stuff it. Perhaps you can repair that damage by something like, "I'm sorry I exploded the other day. I've been thinking it over and I really think it is a very good idea for you to be completely in charge of the grounds at both of our houses. I'll help if you tell me what to do, but otherwise you are totally in charge."

If you browse through posts here and see what other kinds of things others get obsessed with, you will thank your lucky stars he is focused on plants!

But it would really be good to know more about this situation to discuss it with you.
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he actualy walks throug the garden and inspects every bed of flowers with a police like attitude...stare at it for minutes, surely making notes, wich he forgets about each and every little things that is coming up and growing....he still does not know the differents between sertain rubish and plants...I had it with this garden thing and told him to shuff his garden up his whatever, I will never touch it again.....
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