CO-Horts Blog

Monday, February 17, 2020

My Gardening Playlist

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

[Full disclosure: this blog is not based in science or research. It's just a fun, breezy blog in anticipation of spring.]

I love music and my trusty iPod is always by my side. Anytime I'm in the garden for an extended period of time, I have my tunes playing. It's almost like the background noise to my life. The songs I like are a motley crew of random. Line-dancing country? Yes. 60s pop? Yes. Seattle grunge? You bet. I have an appreciation for the old, the new, and the completely cliche (here's to you, Taylor Swift).
I love my iPod! (Please don't stop working.)
It got me thinking about the best gardening songs of all time. Not the ones I listen to when I'm pulling weeds, but songs that have some reference to gardening in the title. Guess what? There's a lot! I've been documenting songs for a few weeks now, carefully checking song titles on Alexa and XM Radio. Here's my list of the Top 10 Gardening no order and not by importance. I listed some runners-up below and I'd love to hear your choices in the comments! Best album title goes to Stevie Wonder and his "Journey through the Secret Life of Plants."

10. "Let it Grow" by Eric Clapton. A beautiful song with lyrics like "...plant your love and let it grow." Whether or not it's actually referring to plants or a larger meaning, you'll have to ask Mr. Clapton.

9. "Grazin' in the Grass" by Friends of Distinction (there's an instrumental version with amazing cowbell by Hugh Masekela--more cowbell!). "I can dig it...he can dig it...she can dig it...we can dig it...they can dig can dig it...oh, let's dig it!" I'm sure they are talking about bindweed.

8. "Roses" by Outkast. Now, there's a lot of songs about roses and this one just makes me laugh because it's about those cool kids in high school...and how maybe they really weren't that cool? (It's true that real guys go for real down-to-Mars girls.) Runner up rose songs include "Every Rose Has a Thorn" by Poison, "The Rose" by Bette Midler, and "Buy Me a Rose" by Kenny Rogers.

7. "Octopus's Garden" by The Beatles. Sing it, Ringo! A fun, happy, sing-a-long song from my favorite band in the world. During my undergraduate landscape design class, I created an entire Beatles garden. Which also included...

6. "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles. Nothing is real. John Lennon wrote this song based on a Salvation Army children's home in Liverpool, England. And yes, as a superfan, I visited the red gates when I was in Liverpool.
My "Let it Beatles" garden for my landscape design class way-back-when.
5. "Purple Rain" by Prince. The man, the legend. The fellow Minnesotan. But you can't grow plants without water, and rain is in short supply in Colorado. So no matter the color, rain is good! "I only wanted to one time to see you laughing in the purple rain."

4. "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the MGs. An absolutely awesome, jazzy instrumental released in 1962 on an album of the same name. There is controversy on how the song got its name. One of the band's guitarists said it was originally called "Funky Onions" but that the name seemed too low-class. Another guitarist said it was named after his cat Green Onions. Regardless, it's a fun tune to a garden staple that grows well in Colorado.

3. "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty. This is probably my favorite Tom Petty album, but I also love this song. It's mellow and simple, with a guitar providing most of the backing music. "You belong somewhere you feel free", like in a garden or a field of wildflowers.

2. "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison. This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite songs. Tupelo honey is quite rare, only found in a small region in Georgia and Florida in the swamps where White Ogeechee tupelo trees grow (in the Nyssa genus). The honey has hints of cinnamon and floral. "She's as sweet as Tupelo honey; just like honey, baby, from the bees." We all know how important our pollinator friends are to our gardens.

1. "Garden Party" by Ricky Nelson. I wish I got an invite to this party! Yoko, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison (alias Mr. Hughes). We can all take the refrain to heart, "You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself."

Other songs that made my list include:
What did I miss? Any gardening tunes that should have made the list? Since I'm not techy (I still have an iPod!), I bet there's already a playlist created on Spotify. Spring is on the horizon!


  1. So fun Alison! What a great way to take our minds of another impending snowstorm and to give us hope, once more, that Spring will arrive. (Admittedly, on the Front Range that may be mid-May but we can enjoy your playlist in the meantime! --Jim

  2. I can still hear my mother sing "In the Garden" (1912) in her off-key style. The lyrics of this hymn, "I came to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses" was a phrase she loved. Many vocalists have sung this including Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley,Johnny Cash and my dear mother, whose stage was our home. Mom Stoven

    1. I absolutely remember Grandma singing this song...and yes, her voice was quite off-key. But she tried. Oh did she try! :)

  3. Who can forget Tip Toe through The Tulips by Tiny Tim; Simon and Garfunkel Scarborough Fair (I've never figured out what parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme had to do with the rest of the song); Where Have All the Flowers gone by Pete Seeger (my theme song); Here Come the Sun by the Beatles (because we all need a little of that); I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch (this was popular sometime in my life and we sang it a lot).

    1. I can't believe I forgot all the sun songs! "Here Comes the Sun" is a great one...Sunshine of Your Love...You Are My Sunshine. We could do a whole blog on the sun!
      Another reader mentioned another Pete Seeger song, "Garden Song", which I remember singing at the YMCA camp.