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Diary of a Bad Gardener


Dear Diary, Tuesday, January 3, 2006

I’m soooo excited that I can hardly breathe!! Spring is almost here!! I can feel it in my very, very cold toesies, even through my warm, fluffy raccoon foot duvets. (No, no, diary, I would never ever use raccoon fur to line my foot duvets. The duvets are decorated to look like raccoons, complete with tails. It’s as if Davy Crockett got into the corn mash and started wearing his caps on his feet.)

Anyway, with spring just around the corner, it’s time to germinate seeds in the basement. I plan to spend the afternoon pushing away boxes to see if I can find the basement door. Wish me luck!

Dear Diary, Thursday, January 5, 2006
I discovered something important yesterday (besides the basement door). The reason I couldn’t breathe on Tuesday had something to do with keeping my fluffy, raccoon foot duvets on my feet since Christmas. They’re now airing out in the basement with my soon-to-be-germinating seeds! I’m soooo excited! But now I can breathe, too.

Dear Diary, Friday, January 13, 2006
Oooooh, it’s Friday the 13th! But my baby seedlings don’t care. They’re so adorable that I couldn’t help pinching a couple of baby eggplants. Then I was sad because I accidentally pinched off their cotyledons. I guess Friday the 13th wasn’t so lucky for them. I will try to control myself in the future. But I’m still soooo excited! Soon spring will be here and I’ll be putting my sweet babies in the garden. I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!

P.S. Oops, dropped a mirror. Hope that’s not a problem, ha, ha!

Dear Diary, Friday, February 10, 2006
I’m soooo sorry that I haven’t written to you in four weeks. Life has been very hard, especially for my little seedling babies in the basement. Who knew how fragile they were! If you miss just a week of watering, boy, do they let you know about it! Mostly by drooping and dying, though some of them bounce back (kind of). And then,

if you try to water them too much, they do the same thing! Make up your mind! Do you want it dry or wet!? They also seem to be getting, well, a little stringy. My little babies need to be in the outside light, born free, playing free! Oh, spring, where are you?

Darn Diary, Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I’m starting to get just a little irritated with the weather. Yesterday afternoon I went outside to start preparing the garden soil for my ever-stringier babies in the basement (they’re starting to look like miniature green basketball players). Not only was it rock hard, but one of my fluffy

raccoon foot duvets froze solid to the ground. I had to slip my foot out and hop back to the house. I’m so miserable. Where, oh, where are you, spring? Have you gone someplace else, like to Detroit? Please come back!

Dumb Diary, Thursday, February 23, 2006
Disaster!! Somebody left the basement window open. The sight was horrific, like finding Captain Robert F. Scott at the South Pole, except without the dog sleds. Not only that, but I looked out the window and something attacked my fluffy raccoon foot duvet in the garden. Poor fluffy raccoon foot duvet! I hate you, spring! No, no, I didn’t say that!! See, I’ve crossed it out! Oh, please don’t punish me, spring!

Whatever, Wednesday, March 1, 2006
My life is over. I do truly hate you, spring, and this time I’m not taking it back! I put all five surviving really, really, really stringy seedlings out in the garden. I didn’t care how cold it was because I trusted you. I didn’t think you would let those poor, stringy babies down. I thought that if you saw them shivering in the cold you would come. But I was wrong!! I will never trust you again. My heart now belongs to summer. Take that, spring! Summer won’t let me down. Summer will come tomorrow if I just ask. You watch! I’ll be lying on the lawn in my Speedo tomorrow, and summer will be there, right on cue.

P.S. Whoever finds this diary, please throw it in the compost pile.

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questions

Last summer my neighbor told me the black spots on my peony were a blight, although my peonies bloomed nicely. What can I do about this?

We moved into a house with a lovely azalea that didn’t bloom. We thought it might have been over-pruned. Last fall we did not prune it and now it still hasn’t bloomed. I was hoping to transplant it this year, but it looks rather sickly. Shall we prune it again and give it another year? Can I still transplant it?

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

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