extreme gardening
n. Gardening that takes places in hostile or difficult conditions.
Gardening has long enjoyed the reputation as the most leisurely of leisure activities, a gentle hobby that produces beauty, serenity and compost. And so it may be in the pages of some long-ago seed catalog, but in real life — or its frequent usurper, the Internet — a hardy gardening counterculture has taken root. The 'extreme gardening' its adherents practice includes cultivation in severe conditions as well as some social and aesthetic affinities that make high-altitude subzero planting seem tame by comparison.
—Emily Nussbaum, “Extreme Gardening; The Green Reaper,” The New York Times, July 01, 2001
1996 (earliest)
If the latest bumper crop of newspaper and magazine articles and TV programs is any indication, boomers are set to become a generation of gardeners in their middle age. … And besides, the sheer mass of this monster-size generation makes it possible to cultivate thoughts of trends in the making: empty-nesters not moving into gardenless condos but staying in their big, old houses to toil in the soil; new meaning for the greenhouse effect; gardening injuries, a whole new field of medicine; … and extreme gardening.
—William Hanley, “Consumers Gas Co. Warms to Cool Winter,” The Financial Post, May 28, 1996
The use of the adjective extreme has gone from teenspeak to cult status (the X Games) to advertising buzzword ("Right Guard: extreme protection"). Now, with the oxymoronic extreme gardening, it looks like this sense of extreme has just about come to the end of its lexical shelf life.