Proven Winners Advertisement

Defensive Design


A funny thing happened to me on the way to writing one of my columns last year. I decided to draw something instead, thereby saving myself from writing about four hundred words and, simultaneously, terrorizing approximately 93% of the people who open the magazine to this page. (How do we know? We take dozens and dozens of scientific polls about every aspect of this publication. Doesn’t everybody?)

I titled that piece “I Can’t Draw, Don’t Ask Me” and a second funny thing happened a couple of months ago. It won an award from the Garden Writers Association (of America, no less). For illustration. This is what we in the writing business call “irony.”

If you want to see the “award-winning” drawing, you’ll have to dig up your own copy of the May/June 2004 issue. I’ve since mailed all of mine to adoring relatives and friends, C.O.D.

It occurs to me that I have been barking up the wrong horticultural tree. Regardless of how lame my visual artistic instincts are and how many people I terrorize with my drawings, I obviously need to put more crayons to construction paper. And since I have, of late, been the sounding board for gardeners obsessed with protecting their precious plants from evil-doing rabbits, deer, insects, birds, kids, bladder-control-challenged dogs, crazed adults with herbicidal sprays, hostile corporate take-overs and even soccer moms in SUVs (is nothing sacred?), I realized that it was my civic duty to return to the computer software drawing board.

You’ll note how much more sophisticated my designs have become. After thumbing through at least two fancy landscaping books, I have eschewed circles and arrows and have embraced the design “Key.” I’m so proud of myself my teeth ache.

No awards for this one, please.

It’s on the house.

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Columns
The CRASH Test

Every day I receive letters (well, not every day, but every few days...actually, I occasionally receive letters ... okay, I ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Tool Time

If you grow vegetables, one of the most valuable tools around is a soil thermometer. That’s because many vegetable seeds ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Signs of Spring?

So here I am, wandering around with my nose towards the ground, scrounging for signs of spring. I’ve found a few — snowdrops ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Wouldn’t life be just about perfect if roses could grow in shade? It so happens that once in a while you come across one ...


Article Thumbnail
Features
Flying High

Kay “The Bluebird Lady” MacNeil advocates (and gardens) for wildlife.


questions

I purchased some pre-chilled hyacinths and tulips for forcing but there were no directions with them. Does this mean I don’t have to chill them in the refrigerator, and will they just bloom in the house any time during the winter? The last batch of bulbs became moldy in the refrigerator.

I have a dampish area with poor grass and moss that I would like to change to ground cover, but if I have only one plant, won’t it be boring? Can I get rid of the grass in winter or early spring?

Now that bedding impatiens (I. walleriana) are not recommended because of impatiens downy mildew, what are three good annuals for shade?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement