Documents: Special Interest: Garden Musings:

Garden Blues
by Eleanor Tylbor
November 3, 1999

If there are two subjects that can elicit an instantaneous response, they are the words 'weather' and 'garden.' Try mentioning one or both at a dull cocktail party and it is an immediate conversation opener. Asking a guest the question, "so, what do you think of all this rain we've been having?" will evoke a complete summation of meteorological conditions in the area and around the world. In fact, the two subjects will open up other areas of discussion. "All that rain will certainly have an effect on the price of vegetables at the supermarket. I mean, don't we consumers pay enough for a head of lettuce?", a person will respond. This statement will automatically trigger off side topics among the party attendees about price gouging, whether or not croutons belong on a salad, some inexpensive recipes that are worth trying and before you know it, the party will take on a life of its own.

The same thing is applicable to gardening. Get two or more gardeners together and they will rail on and on about their successes and failures. Gardening can also bring out that competitive aspect of our personalities. "My roses are so big this year that I'm thinking of entering them in the rose show," Mr. or Ms Perfect Garden will boast. "How are yours doing? Small as usual?" "Pretty good," you might answer, "but it looks like we're going to have the best vegetable crop ever." Then there's the inevitable silence between you and the response which you know will be delivered with a verbal punch. A complete itemization of the person's veggies will then be delivered which will be the biggest and best around. Tomatoes that are large and blemishless, cucumbers so long and heavy that they require staking to a wooden trellis, carrots so sweet that they are washed and eaten raw right out of the garden, cauliflower so huge that they shade all the other veggies.

Ask me. I know. These two subjects were on my mind today since rain has fallen for six days straight, and it's got to the point where I'm waiting for Noah to arrive with his ark for yet another rescue mission. The garden received a quick cursory examination today in the early morning hours, and between periods of rain. For the last week gardeners in our area of the world have had to be content gazing longingly out of the window, watching the flowers and veggies which are now a lush, green shade of green, grow taller and taller.

It seems that my beloved roses love this type of weather and have never looked better. In fact for the first time, I contemplated cutting a few to bring indoors as a morale booster. Bending over the rose bushes to cut some blooms, I was assailed by a gang of bugs - they seemed like black flies and their cronies - and viciously attacked en masse, until I retreated waving both hands around my head and neck in a maniacal fashion. Heaven knows what my neighbour Kathleen would think if she was looking out of her window. It's as if the bugs were now in control in my absence and had staked their claim in the roses. In fact, for sure they had claimed the rose garden as a home base since numerous holes in the greenery indicated feasting of great magnitude. How dare a mere human interlope on their territory and interfere with them getting their fill of rose petals, stalks and buds!

Needless to say, they won the war of the roses for now and the human has to be content to admire the beauty of the blooms from afar. The fragrance of those roses although it was limited to just a few minutes, was worth the battle scars being an abundance of itchy bumps on exposed parts. It's a small price to pay for a dose of gardening.

There is hope on the horizon since the weather experts(?) are predicting the sun will shine the day after tomorrow. Then it's a return to wet conditions. This means that you can be sure the sound of lawnmowers will be heard throughout the neighbourhood on this day since the grass has reached ankle level. Gardens will be de-weeded and veggies staked in anticipation of yet more growth spurts. When it comes to outdoor activities especially gardening in our area, you could say we're all wet.

Next week, this space will be devoted to questions posed by gardeners all over the world (alright - gardening issues and angst discussed over the garden fence) and answers provided by Ms Eleanor, FG (frustrated gardener). If you have any issues or questions you would like to discuss or have answered, drop me a line at:

Hey - let's talk about it!

(Eleanor Tylbor is a freelance humor columnist and frustrated gardener who lives in Laval, Quebec. She welcomes letters from gardeners all over the world who would like to share their gardening successes and failures (she relates more to the latter) to be included in her articles.) E-mail: tylborj@CAM.ORG

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