Sorry for swipe off
But you know they'll hunt you down
Drop every box and step back
The spring might come out

My little miss cotton
You're quite the stubborn kind
If we cant make it work
We will take it out in blood

We'll make a man out of you yet
We will cram brambles in your bed
Just close your eyes and count to ten
This is as good as it will get

And it's a little mellow whipping
A flutter to your knees
They hung two things before me
Oh the possibilities

Thank you for the warning
But I still see inside
A little global warming
Never hurt no one


Don't rest my little flower
You're getting put to use
You've always been a failure
But now you're bearing strange new fruit of hell
The insides are all useless
But the rest is fertile still
I'll take the belt from off the hook
And watch the garden grow

We'll make a man out of you yet
You won't know what will hit you next
The gardener's coming to collect
You wanted love that's what you'll get
The gardener's coming to collect
The gardener's coming to collect
The gardener's coming to collect
The gardener's coming to collect

Lyrics submitted by evolutionaried

The Gardener Lyrics as written by Amanda Palmer

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Gardener (Album Version) song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this song has a lot of references to children born with various intersex conditions and the way doctor's approach it. It's a really crude interpritation, but I see a lot of physical representations of genetalia in the lyrics. Ex: "You're quite a stubborn bud". The flower that refuses to bloom can be seen as the genetalia that remains ambiguous.

    It seems like either the doctor or the parents is speaking, saying "We'll make a man out of you yet" and meaning, we're going to decide your sex for you. This is especially evident in the lines "The insides are all useless, but the rest is fertile soil. I'll take the belt from off the hook and watch the garden grow." The insides will never work the way they're supposed to because it's possible the child has either non-functioning or female organs, but they've built a working phallus and that's "as good as it will get". By the same token, the child may have a female mentality, but it was, until recently, believed that that could be beaten out of them with very harsh therapy.
    xShanion August 31, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationMy friend Leanne thinks that this song is about the rape of a small boy.
    sbpon December 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think that it's a comparison of global warming to teens being brainwashed by the media

    people do bad things (trash the earth/set horrible examples), others follow (also live wastefully/neglect to develop an individuality and just follow the horrible examples being set on tv), everything is desecrated (the earth is fucked up/america is fucked up), the people doing the desecrating are ignorant and don't care/realize and they ignore the wise warnings (people ignore proof of global warming and deny it/people refuse to admit that this generation of children is turning into a bunch of stupid kids who sit around listening to rap and shopping at hollister and have no plan for the future), and then everyone is made to suffer (the polar icecaps melt and flood the earth/america fails because 90% of the population consists of usless, vapid pieces of trash)

    "the insides are all useless, but the rest is fertile"
    --the resources are depleted, but things look okay/ the kids' minds and hearts and souls are empty, but they look hot

    "the gardener's coming to collect"
    --disaster is coming; what you've asked for is here
    megziebooxoxoon July 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhile it would make sense for this song to be about an abusive relationship, i think it could also be about rape.

    "if we can't make it open, we'll take it out in blood"
    like, if he can't convince this girl to have sex with him, he'll just force it.

    "we will plant brambles in your bed//just close your eyes and count to ten//this is as good as it will get."
    like the guy is saying 'hey, you know, you're worthless, i'm the best you can do, so just put up with it, because this is as good as it gets for you.'

    "and there's our little willow weeping//a flutter to your knees"
    the girl is really, really hurt by everything that's going on, and she's just depressed all the time because of it.

    "thank you for the warning//but i still see the sun"
    this girl is seeing/hearing everywhere that what's happening to her isn't normal, and she shouldn't put up with it, and she appreciates the concern, but, at the same time, she still secretly thinks her guy's a good guy and wants to stay with him.

    "the insides are all useless, but the rest is fertile soil"
    this is how her lover sees her...her insides [thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.] are completely pointless to him, and he just doesn't care...but she's physically attractive [or fertile soil]

    so yeah...just a thought...
    aisforaccidenton August 31, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeah, i think its about the loss of innocence. Theres a lot of lyrics that seem like they're about losing virginity: "If we cant make you open We will take it out in blood","At last my little flower is getting put to use", and even the "we'll make a man out of you yet" To me, the song is about a teen girl who is dating this guy and they're both virgins but the guy wants to have sex and is forceful. he probably abuses her giving low self esteem: "The insides are all useless" A friend warns her about abusive relationships but like a lot of girls do she stays with him: "thank you for the warning but i still see the sun,A little global warming
    Never hurt no one". The garderners coming to collect part is about him collecting (taking) her virginity.
    PaleBlueSunshineon May 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHypothesis of SorrowSworn and I:

    how about this: relating an abuser's sadistic actions towards the abusee to humanity's sadism and neglect towards the environment.

    "A little global warming / never hurt no one."
    But of course it will. Because like abuse, the effects are cumulative.

    "If we can't make you open / we will take it out in blood" - perhaps referring to peoples' need to control the earth; thus, if we can't force the environment to bend to our will, we will just hurt the earth further in our efforts to do so.

    A lot of Amanda's songs have double meanings, like Truce, so this might be similar.
    evolutionariedon May 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's 'my little misbegotten' not 'my little miss forgotten'
    rachied123on May 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood hypothesis evolutionaried & SorrowSworn! At first I was alittle skeptical, but then it all started making sense.

    Also I was thinking that the lines "We'll make a man out of you yet" work in that context because that's the reason that many abusers use to justify their behaviour and in terms of the environment motif it could be the attempt to masculinize "mother nature"
    dirty danceron June 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamanda changed some of the lyrics in the recorded album. the truth is, she does this a lot between recorded songs and live songs. i sort of like how she mixes and matches the words, because honestly some work better than others.

    although, i do have to say i sort of wish this song wasn't recorded because it comes out better live.
    oxidizationxon August 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the studio version, you can hear her voice without having to torture your eardrums.
    OHcomelyon September 22, 2008   Link

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