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Hope Springs Eternal


“Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to another season of exciting action! I’m Bud Blast–“

“–And I’m Hort Holler–“
“And it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, to coin a phrase.”
“I sure am!”
“Uh, yeah. Anyway, we’ve been through what can only be described at a long winter–“
“Hoo-boy, Bud! Long winter!”
“–especially in light of the way the last season ended.”
“Everything dropped dead, Bud. Door nail dead! Not a good way to end the season, Bud.”
“Nope, not at all, Hort. But, as they say, ‘Hope springs eternal’–”
“Specially in spring, Bud. It springs in spring.”
“Yup, and this year’s team has come a long way since the fall.”
“Long way. Heck, everything was dead, Bud. Door nail dead!”
“But it’s a new season, Hort, and what do you think we’re going to see?”
“Snowdrops, Bud! Crocuses! Chinodoxa! Hoo-boy, I can’t even pronounce ‘em!”
“Not surprising, Hort. What about the bench? What do you see on the bench?”
“Trays, Bud! Lots and lots of trays. They’ve been training for weeks now. They’ve been under the lights, they’re hydrated and ready to go. ’Course, some of those rookies are gonna get cut before they ever make it to the field. Literally! With snippers! Hoo-boy, not a pretty sight!”
“I’ll say, Hort. But it’s gotta be done. We can’t have a repeat of last season.”
“I’ll say, Bud. But it’s gotta be done. We can’t have a repeat of last season.”
“Like I said, no repeat.”
“That’s the mantis of the team this year. ‘No repeat.’”
“Mantis?”
“What I said.”
“You sure you don’t mean ‘mantra’?”
“What I said.”
“So let’s take a look at that disastrous end to the season last year. A total collapse, up and down the yard. What happened, Hort?”
“What happened? They all died, Bud! Door nail dead! Sheesh! Even I could figure that out.”
“Yes, but why, Hort?”
“Why? Well, uh, I look at the drought and the cool weather in the second quarter. They got behind and then they couldn’t catch up. This is not a fourth quarter team. Gotta stay hydrated, Bud. Gotta stay on top of it. And pathogens and insects and feral animals. It was brutal.”
“So you’re saying that we needed more from our tomatoes?”
“Tomatoes?! Hoo-boy, don’t get me started on tomatoes!”
“Okay, I won’t.”
“Tomatoes. Where were the tomatoes when we needed them?
“Let’s move on.”
“We were counting on tomatoes and it was…like…hello?”
“I know what you mean.”
“‘Calling all tomatoes! Calling all tomatoes!’ You know what I’m saying?”
“I know what you’re saying.”
“I mean, I just wanted one tomato to step up to the plate. To step on the plate.”
“Can we move on?”
“Every fan of this team wanted just one red tomato on the plate. And I’m not speaking in metaphors. Disappointing, Bud. Disappointing. That’s all I can say.”
“Well, all I can say is that we’re about ready to start. It’s a new season and a new team, folks. We’ll be right back with the ceremonial pinching of the cotyledon, right after this message.”
“That’s gonna leave a mark. Hoo-boy!!”.

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questions

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 start ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia from seed under grow lights. What other begonias can I use to cross-pollinate with the ‘Dragon Wing’ so I can collect my own seeds?

My lilac had a grayish blight on the leaves this summer. What caused this and how can I prevent it?

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