Osmocote 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
Features
Cooking Up a Great Garden

When David Van Zelst comes home after a busy day running his landscaping business, he likes to cook. No surprise there, …


Article Thumbnail
Columns
A Letter From the Garden Abyss

I am writing to reach out to humanity, if there is anyone left as of May 1. If you find this note, please take it to the ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
From the Editor - SeptOct 2018

Looking for some good public plantings? Head for an airport.


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - SeptOct 2016

September has arrived. Sigh. Or perhaps you say whoopee! Whatever your response, there’s no denying the change of seasons is …


Article Thumbnail
Features
Bon Voyage

Give your garden visitors a splendid send-off this autumn.


questions

What are some trends in gardening you see becoming more prevalent in the next few years?

I’m moving to a townhouse with limited direct sunlight. I would like to put a Japanese maple in a north-facing garden but don’t know if it will do well. What are the best kinds? Also, when is the best time to plant a small tree?

What is the green worm that eats my roses and columbine every year?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement