To many guys, flowers represent all that is feminine. For a guy to admit flowers as being anything more than a tool of courtship or romance is to invite the “ewww” factor, driven by fears of being labeled gay by themselves or by others. There are even derogatory statements that invoke this engendering of flowers being effeminate, such as “He is such a pansy.” To get almost any guy to openly admit that he likes flowers, without any squeamishness, would be quite a feat.
Don’t get me wrong, I live in the very liberal city of Seattle, which means I work and associate with guys who are openly or privately gay. I consider them to be good friends and co-workers. I respect them and do not pass judgment on them for their orientation. At the same time, I am most definitely not gay. It is something I have never questioned about myself.
I am an edible landscaper, and as such I’ve come to accept that a good landscape design includes flowers. Without being gay and feeling able to break gender stereotypes, how did I get over the “eww” factor and grow flowers for me, rather than for a wife or girlfriend? It is really quite simple, first off I am secure in my gender and orientation, and secondly, I make it all about food. I make the topic of flowers safe to discuss, including the beauty, the wonderful fragrances, and the joy they impart, since I also include the more masculine utilitarian concepts, such as edibility, taste, medicinal herbal use, and adventures in the kitchen.
In other words, to me edible landscaping becomes a melding of both the feminine and masculine components of gardening, becoming gender neutral. It is safe for me to have a flower garden, since it is much more than flowers, it is an extension of my herb garden and vegetable garden, all intermingled.
If you struggle with your husband or boyfriend never showing interest in your flower gardening, try including some of the utilitarian concepts in your sharing about them and see if that sparks something. You might be pleasantly surprised.