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A Bit Of Recycling And Some True Questions
by Dan Clost
by Dan Clost


First serious garden earned 25 cents from the Kemptville Horticultural Society when I was 12. Have been poor in horticulture ever since but rich in spirit.

Went to work writing the Good Earth column (over 500 articles published in newspaper, magazine, website and journal.) and learned that what was printed wasn't what I wanted to say and certainly not what Gentle Reader understood me to say. Subsequently have developed a certain clarity and economy of words.

Day job- nursery and production manager for a large nursery/garden centre
Side job- Garden restoration and renovations, design consultations, remedial pruning.
Night job- garden writer and communicator (overnight success in another 20 years)

Dan gardens in Canadian Zone 5b

August 24, 2003

Did you know that most of the material you bring home from the garden centre is recyclable? All those flats, pots- fibre and plastic, plastic bags that contained everything from manure to pea gravel, and even the weeds in the shrubs containers can be returned responsibly to this good earth. They shouldn't go to a landfill .

What, you might ask, prompted this opening question? It is not unusual for us to arrive at work in the morning to see neat stacks of returned flats and containers at the main entrance to the store. (It would be interesting to know when these items are dropped off because we never seem them arrive. Since store hours run from seven in the morning 'til eight in the evening, we imagine folks lurking around the corner waiting for the lights to be switched off. Sort of humorous, isn't it?) Actually, we don't mind. We have large bins for recycling these materials. The thing is, the home gardener can set them out on the curb, too and save a trip. Just make sure you empty out bits of soil etc into your garden or composter to provide the blue box boys with a relatively clean product.

However, Gentle Reader, there is a finer point of etiquette that needs to be explained. It is in very bad taste to drop off used containers from another store with the expectation that we will clean up their trash.

Last week I was a tad tired and a bit disgruntled whilst writing the column. Oddly enough, I've received some very positive comments about it; maybe I should work myself up into a real frenzy before penning a diatribe.

This week I'd like to share some of the more humorous comments and questions that we get. Gentle Reader, if you yourself asked some of these questions, please don't feel too badly. At first sound, they seem to be quite reasonable. In order to disguise folks, everyone involved is now named "Paul". Apologies to all you Pauls out there, especially to my next-door neighbour who resists gardening with a passion.

Paul: "Do you have any climbing red roses?"

Dan: " Yes, this one, Climbing Red Blaze, is a favourite of many landscapers because of its durability and bright scarlet flowers."

Paul: "Yes, I like that. Does it come in any other colours?"

Dan: "No."

Paul (after being shown a selection of ornamental grasses): "How often do I have to mow them?"

Recently we observed Paul explaining to his companion about the word "dwarf" in the title of a plant's name. "You see this Dwarf Alberta Spruce?" (Paul is pointing at a three-foot high specimen.) "The "dwarf" means it will only grow two feet tall."

Paul talking to chaps in the yard: "My truck holds 1 cubic yard. How much mulch can I put into it?"

Yard chap: " Sir, we can put one cubic yard of mulch into your truck."

Paul: "Oh, how much mulch is that?"

Telephone conversation with Paul. Paul: "How much is your topsoil?"

After the response, he asks, "And how much does your competitor charge?"

By the end of the conversation Paul has decided to purchase from us, thank you, and arranges for delivery.

Staff: "What is your address, sir?"

Paul: "I never give out my address over the phone. When your man is ready to deliver, call me and I will then tell him how to get here."

GR, these are all real events. There are more but you wouldn't believe them. However, I thoroughly empathise with all the Pauls of the world. For myself, I have yet to plumb the depths of my ability to make stupid statements.

Folks, now is the time to book yourself onto one of the many garden tours. In our area of the country, The University Women's Group puts together an excellent tour every year. They use the proceeds to help fund university educations for our young people. Many of the local horticultural societies arrange similar events. The gardens are usually more than beautiful, they're inspiring. Just ask at your favourite garden centre for more information.



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