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Guns and Roses


It seems that I’m either easily amazed or not fazed at all by new information. For instance, if you were to tell me that science has suddenly concluded

that the moon is made of Agaricus bisporus (Portobello mushrooms), my response would most likely be, “Yeah, saw that coming.”

But recently, a colleague told me about a magazine called Garden & Gun and I nearly spit my split pea soup into my fairy garden terrarium. Perhaps it’s because I’m not the kind of guy who has to strap on heat to feel safe from the squirrels in my yard. Yes, they have been known to take my lunch money from me, but that’s my own fault for wearing peanut butter scented cologne.

With apologies to my Southern friends who read this column … wait … a message is coming in on my Bluetooth earpiece … oh … hmm … okay, never mind. I’ve been informed that nobody south of the Kankakee River reads this column. Anyway, I searched and found that on Wikipedia, Garden & Gun is described as “a magazine about the sporting culture, food, music, art, and travel of the Southern United States.” Ah, I misunderstood. We’re talking about guns as sport, not as self-protection from predatory rodents.

But it did allow an idea to take root in my brain (which is surprising, considering how little oxygen is up there), namely that gardeners are not Jenny One Notes when it comes to their passions. No siree, Barb. I have known gardeners to listen to sporting events on the radio while gardening, to engage in political conversations with their neighbors while gardening (make sure your neighbor is not wielding anything sharp at the time), and to drink heavily while gardening … especially while cursing marauding packs of squirrels. Now that’s what I call multi-tasking at its finest.

This has helped me realize that I am one small step away from having my own gazillion dollar magazine publishing empire. All I need is for one of these unique ideas from my fecund-yet-oxygen-starved brain to take off. Thus, I am proposing creating several magazines, about which you can contact me if you’re interested in being my mogul behind the scenes. These descriptions are taken directly from Wiki-patio, which I will create as soon as I get these publications off the ground.

Spores Illustrated is your go-to guide for sporangiospores, zygospores, ascospores, teliospores and SPORE … er … MORE! Who’s number one? Who will win the championship – ferns, fungus or algae? Or will it be an as-of-now-unidentified species? Catch all of the fast-paced and often microscopic action of dispersal and asexual reproduction. Not recommended for … well, pretty much for anybody who isn’t a scientist.

Gardens & Gum Drops, a magazine devoted to the art of carrying snacks in one’s pockets that can be retrieved and consumed while gardening. This month’s articles include “Jawbreaker/Risk Taker,” “5 Tips for Chocolate Covered Pockets,” and “Squirrels A-0000re a Candy, Too!”

Better Holmes and Gardens is the ONLY publication devoted to helping you identify, using perfect logic and reasoning, plants for which you lost the tags years ago and which, not so coincidentally, have overrun your yard, your deck and your peace of mind. Don’t forget to check out their award-winning feature, “Doctor, Watson My Garden Now?”

Popular Organics, a publication that dares to ask the question, “If organic gardening is so darned popular, why can’t they come up with cotton candy that’s made of real cotton?” See page 47 in the latest issue for the recipe and prepare to amaze and lose your friends.

Tall Tool Tales. Got a great story about how just you and your shovel saved your entire neighborhood from a 500 year flood? Is your garden hoe your best friend? Can you juggle pruning loppers like nobody’s business? These maybe-not-so-true-life stories will astound and disturb you. Perhaps the latter … especially in the case of the garden hoe.
All you wannabe moguls out there – please write to me with more ideas. Meanwhile I have to get back to creating Wiki-patio. Hmm, I sense a wicker furniture magazine in my future.

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questions

I have a nicely sheltered, rounded 7-foot tall Japanese red maple on the southeast corner of my backyard. Half of the tree has lost its leaves, the formerly red bark is turning gray, and a good-sized square of bark has been stripped off on the side that faces the yard. I sprayed the exposed bark with black pruning spray to close any entry for insects. I have not cut off any of the branches.

Does the winter have any effect on the tree? Should I look for some insect infestation? What should I do now?

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.

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?

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