Tag Archives: gardening

1930. A brief (and silly) floral reflection

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Willow knew a thing or two about gardening. In fact, Willow had taken night school classes in horticulture over a six week period; two hours each week at the local high school.

Willow’s friend was Michelle. Michelle didn’t have a clue about gardening but would go into her garden and plant things, and pull out weeds, and water this and that.

“I don’t have a clue what most of the flowers are called,” said Michelle, “but I know that they are very pretty.”

“You should go to night school like I did,” said Willow. “That way you’d learn something and be an expert and become a better gardener.”

“Look at these lovely crocuses!” exclaimed Michelle. “They flower in the Fall. They are different from the ones that flower in the Spring.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Willow. “Crocuses flower in the Spring. They are one of the first flowers to make an appearance after Winter. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oh how shallow it is to be a night-school-class graduate-in-horticulture-over-a-six-week-period! Those who know everything know nothing. Willow knew it all. She had nothing in her garden. Michelle knew nothing. Her garden was a picture.

The End.

[I know some of you will be disappointed in the lack of excitement in today’s yarn. For those who prefer something spicier, here is an alternative ending:

Willow was consumed by jealousy over Michelle’s beautiful garden. After a friendly salad luncheon at Michelle’s place, Willow suddenly opened her purse and pulled out a pistol. She pulled the trigger and Michelle slumped to the ground. As Michelle lay dying she was heard to exclaim, “Ha! Ha! Ha! I poisoned the salad!”]

1738. Calamitous culinary concoction

Candy was both an enthusiastic gardener and an enthusiastic cook. She would usually manage to squeeze both hobbies in, at least for a short time, after a long day’s work at the Department of Scientific Research. Years ago she had graduated as an industrial chemist specializing in developing antidotes to ricin. Ricin is a deadly powder that is processed from castor oil plant seeds. The smallest few grains can be fatal. These days Candy had a more mundane task; she works on developing greater flexibility in plastics.

Thirty-seven years ago Candy had married her school sweetheart. The marriage was ongoing. Candy and Herbie had five children and eight grandchildren. They attributed their healthy family to a healthy lifestyle. For example, they never used salt when cooking, although sometimes Candy added a little salt from the salt shaker to her meal once dished up.

(If Candy is the only one using salt, how the heck is the story-teller going to get her to poison her husband with homemade ricin manufactured from her home-grown castor oil plants? She’ll end up poisoning herself.)

Anyway, an opportunity came for Candy to attend a Science Convention in a distant city. She prepared an evening meal for the five days she was away and stored it, each labelled with the day of the week, in the freezer. That way Herbie could come home and simply microwave his dinner. Of course, she prepared far, far too much food. And Candy sprinkled each meal with a liberal dose of homemade ricin processed from her home-grown castor oil plants. Sadly, he should be dead by the time she came back home. After all, she had proof that he had had a torrid affair with Annie, the woman who came once a week to do the washing and ironing. Not to mention Dolores the accountant, and Pam the dentist. Oh, and Sybil the barmaid at the local pub.

And Mitzie…

The affairs aside, Herbie was a great family man, and on the first evening, relieved that his wife wasn’t home to hound him, took all five meals out of the freezer and invited his five children and eight grandchildren to a hearty feast.

1134. A prickly pruning

Good evening. I’m Shelagh Littenberg, and welcome to Time in the Garden – your weekly foray into the foliage.

Today we’re visiting the fabulous rose gardens of Sir Julius Barton-Klap. Sir Julius has been at the forefront of developing new rose varieties for over thirty years. He has thousands of rose bushes. There would hardly be a rose variety in existence that’s not to be found in Sir Julius Barton-Klap’s all-encompassing garden.

We have so many questions to ask the expert, but today especially we’re going to learn how to prune roses correctly. With so many roses, there can be little doubt that there’s a right and a wrong way, and Sir Julius will put us all on the proper track. Good evening, Sir Julius.

Good evening, Shelagh.

With so many roses, how to you manage to prune them all? And what is the correct way to do it?

Actually, Shelagh, I use the electric hedge clippers. Just shear them down a bit. My wife uses the weed-eater on the bramble bushes. They don’t seem to mind getting cut to the ground. In fact, they like it. It’s a family affair. For some of the more rampant climbers one of my sons gets stuck in with the chain saw. The other son uses a machete; he likes to get a bit of a sweat-up. With so many roses, it’s the only way and they seem to be able to take a thrashing.

But isn’t there a correct way to do it? I was told to always cut on an angle just below where it would bud; and to always have the bud’s position so that it grew out from the rose and not inwards.

Well I suppose if you’ve got one or two plants you could do that, but really just hacking away with the secateurs will do the trick; any old how.

Thank you. Next week we were down to learn how Sir Julius fertilized his roses, but I think we’ll give it a miss and visit the Brassica Nursery to learn the correct and humane way to stop caterpillars from eating your carefully-tended cabbages. That’s something that concerns us all. Good evening.

765. Psyllids in the salad

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Reggie had heard that the garden products company he worked for were setting up a “plant” overseas. It was a rumour, mind you. Reggie didn’t like to ask – it was none of his business – but he and his wife, Maggie, were keen to be given the experience. Overseas!

And then Reggie and Maggie were invited to the boss’s place for dinner. Was this to be it? Would the boss perhaps venture into a how-would-you-like-to-be-posted-overseas conversation?

The meal began with a salad, and Reggie could see psyllids crawling in it: tiny insects that sap tomatoes and potatoes and broad beans and the like of their strength. The plants wilt.

Reggie tried to ignore the bugs. He tried to eat the salad as if it wasn’t infested. It wouldn’t kill him.

“Are you keen gardeners yourselves?” he asked, between mouthfuls of psyllid, tomato and thousand islands dressing.

“Not really,” said the boss, “although we did grow ourselves what you’re eating now.”

“Delicious,” said Reggie.

The evening ended. No mention was made of overseas.

“That’s them out of the equation,” said the boss to his wife. “He didn’t even notice the psyllids in his salad. Let alone the worms in the apple pie.”

627. Eleanor’s garden

© Bruce Goodman 29 June 2015

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Eleanor sublimated her poor marriage into gardening. She’d always dreamed of a wonderful husband and family. In fact it turned out horrid. They couldn’t have kids, and he blamed her even though his sperm count was about minus forty in the shade. They had nothing in common. He would go to the pub most nights. Eleanor stayed at home and watched television on her own.

She tried to interest him in having a vegetable garden but he said that gardening was for wusses and went off to the pub again. So Eleanor developed the most beautiful flower garden and didn’t grow vegetables. Her garden took up all the ground they had.

“It saves on having to mow the lawn,” said Eleanor, even though having everything in flower gardens was ten times more work than a lawn. But what a garden! She had flowers to flower so there would be flowers flowering all year round. She had her favourite too: a collection of special irises. And there were daylilies of every shape and colour. Everything! Every plant under the sun! A symphony of colour and scent! A palate of blazing glory!

And then her sister took ill and was dying, and Eleanor had to leave home for a couple of weeks and go to help out.

When she came home, the whole place had been rotary-hoed and planted in potatoes. Her husband had done it. He’d heard in the pub that there was money to be made in growing spuds.

557. Into gardening

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Chantelle had a whole bank of convallaria majalis. It could be seen from the road, and it was frequently admired by people passing by, especially the smell. Of course, convallaria majalis’s season is quite short, but nonetheless, Chantelle thought their beauty outweighed the shortness of the season.

“Why don’t you have pericallis cruenta on the bank instead?” said Chantelle’s friend, Maxima. “Their season is longer, and they are more colourful.”

Maxima belonged to the same Garden Society as Chantelle and was an expert at growing dicentra spectabilis. There was nothing that Maxima didn’t know about propagating dicentra spectabilis.

“No, I’m happy with the convallaria majalis,” said Chantelle. “Besides, Angelina specialises in pericallis cruenta. I don’t want to be a copycat.”

Thus, Chantelle had convallaria majalis, Angelina had pericallis cruenta, and Maxima had dicentra spectabilis.

One day Jane applied to join the club. She grew Iceland poppies. “You mean papaver nudicaule, darling,” guffawed Maxima.  Chantelle and Angelina giggled behind their hands.

Clearly Jane was not ready to join the Garden Society.

In the long run, Jane was rather pleased.