Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's not the snow, it's the slush

So what's this got to do with gardening? It's the posh footgear.

I trudged through snow and slush this gray afternooon wearing my Hunter Wellington boots--purchased for me from Smith & Hawken (back when they were purveyors of quality garden supplies).

For years I hankered after the Hunter brand of Wellington boots--if they're good enough for the Queen of England, they're good enough for me--so a dear friend stumped up and bought me a pair in navy blue.

Today, as my Hunter Wellies and I slid in the slush, I remembered an incident from my youth.

When I was in college, three guys I knew took a summer road trip across the U.S. Two were sparky Americans, the third was a visitor from Sweden with limited English.

The fellows planned to save on expenses by staying at the homes of family friends, and were prepared to sing for their suppers by being effervescent conversationalists during the evenings ahead.

The Swede needed some vocabulary help. His American buddies drew up a list of four remarks, one of which would be a plausible response to any conversational sally from a friendly adult. The Swede memorized the list and they set off. The indispensable phrases were:

I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

And my favorite:

Especially in the South.

Here's my addition:

It's not the snow, it's the slush.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dicentra for Valentine's Day

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dinner Date in the Sierra Nevada Foothills

No, we're not having venison for dinner! Perish the thought. That's one of my dinner guests you're looking at. As you can see, she's enjoying an appetizer. 

Garden bloggers around the world are hosting fantasy dinner parties Saturday night, the brain wave of Veg Plotting. 

My fantasy dinner guests are all residents of Nevada County who spend a great deal of time in gardens: garden author Carolyn Singer, garden blogger Pomona Belvedere, and two mule deer. I considered inviting a mountain lion too (another of our wild neighbors) but was concerned that his social skills might be lacking.

Carolyn is writing a series of books on deerproof gardening (the first two volumes of Deer In My Garden are in print right now). 

The two mule deer would be chewing a series of plants in my garden, but there isn't much here to interest them, thanks to Carolyn. One of our perennial beds is in the middle of a longtime deer trail, so the deer hop the fence in, look around, and hop another fence out. 

Pomona is a scholar and a gardener, steeped in lore from garden literature past and present. She blogs at Tulips in the Woods.

Pomona pointed out the potential seating problems, so we will serve dinner buffet style in the living room, where the two deer can recline on sofas.

The menu for humans includes goat cheese pizza and salad; the deer will have organic roses and tulips (I think they like those), with a salt lick as a palate cleanser between courses.

I hope for a wide-ranging discussion on how gardeners and deer can peacefully coexist, with creative and productive gardens alongside happy habitats for deer. It's possible the deer will lodge some complaints about our dog who barks (but does not chase). 

With any luck we can end the evening with some hoof-tapping dancing!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feelin' Fine With Felco?

Are Felco pruners really the Ferrari for the fortunate few? 

I followed the writings of the Felco fans and became firmly convinced that my garden would fail without the fantastic Felco bypass action. Febrile fantasies formed in my mind, and fomented a fixation on fire engine red shears--the Felco Number 6 model (for a fine-boned hand) was my final pick.

What's your opinion on Felco? Do you have fulsome praise for fundamentally sound secateurs? Or do you think the hype is a lot of fancy phrases for foolish flower gardeners?

The Felco forum will run here for a few days; your factual and philosophical feedback is fervently desired!

Monday, February 2, 2009