Odds & Sods #7
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

December 27, 2009

We're closing on the end of another year, Gentle Reader, and again I have run out of weeks for my columns, not my stories. I'm often asked how I can keep coming up with ideas. That has never been a problem as gardening and horticulture is a vast domain that will never be completely explored. Not only are we, ahem, more mature folk learning and expanding our horizons, there are younger tyros entering the to speak. Climate change, new varieties, genetic manipulation, food crops, the philosophy of nurturing, the "intrusion" of governments, the green trade, landscaping, native vs. naturalised vs. exotic vs. invasive vs. common sense, the colour wheel, succession of bloom, containers, moisture retention container mixes, composting, therapeutic and holistic gardening, well known folks like H. Fred Dale, Lois Hole, Donna Dawson, Doug Green, Mark Cullen, Art Drysdale and Brown Green, perfecting the grassy estate or eradicating grass forever, kids gardening, theme gardening like plants of the Bible or plants from Shakespeare or Goth, lurid and alluring catalogues, collecting seeds, the horticultural societies, Bernadine has a warning about rose thorns and infections, Sonya is interested in tools, Linda likes stories about Canada Blooms, Ann is looking for lilacs and there is so mulch more.

O&S 1

I have refrained from joining the madding crowd of my green-ink stained peers as many of them twittered and blogged and journaled their way into a meaningless, maundering morass of mush in an attempt to be accessible to the unremediated reading masses.(And yes you discerning lot, I have been taking in some Ron James shows) I slogged my way through more than 200 blogs and tweaked a twit or two and left feeling discouraged. There are some wonderful offerings out there in the ethereal hinterlands: the ladies of Garden Rant and that rascally rogue of the islands, Doug Green, come to mind. My feeling, though, is that quality writing and clarity of thought will attract readers no matter the vehicle of promulgation.

Then, there are sites that pirate other's writings reducing the income stream but occasionally the greater publicity has benefits. I googled myself and found me on more than 50 websites: only three have my permission. Mind you, I did sell a copy of my book Take Time to a person in Alberta because of that. So I write the bestest and muddleless as I can, letting letters to the editor judge my fate.

O&S 2

Please tell your friends to be nice to the front line workers at the garden centres and other retail outlets this Christmas season. I know that you, Gentle Reader, always are. We want them to be happy and try to work at it but there will be some disappointments. A product might not be in stock, the sale might have ended yesterday and, the worker just might be as worn down as they. (As I write this I can't help but wonder how many e-mails my boss will get expressing concern about my own personal service to our customers. There's been at least one every time.)

O&S 3

Time is running out for final fall chores. Mulch your leaves onto the lawn, into the flower beds and over the veggie patch. If you have too many then make leaf mold. You should never toss your carbon out to the curb. Check the moisture levels of your outdoor plants now, especially recent additions such as trees. Make sure they have adequate water before freeze-up. Clean and sharpen your tools, scrape off the grass from the bottom of the mower deck, nip out damaged branches, collect some seeds and walk around your bit of this good earth and make notes- you'll forget stuff by February.

Give an early gift of a garden and yard clean up for a neighbour or friend who is unable to take care of their estate.

O&S 4

Check out the continuing education classes in your local college. In our area, you might a look for a Lisa Purves seminar through Loyalist.

Ideas and explorations in our world of gardening will never cease. Lovely thought, that.

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