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I Can’t Draw, Don’t Ask Me


Do you sing in the shower?

Um, I know that’s kind of personal and you don’t need to tell me what kind of soap you use but the point is, do you sing there but nowhere else? I ask only because I know that there are people out there who feel, well, incompetent at certain skills. Singing is a common one. Public speaking is another. Sports, cooking, electronics, home improvement, fashion, and let’s not forget origami, are other areas where the taunts of childhood acquaintances, spouses and co-workers can breed a sense of insecurity that can haunt people their whole lives.

Yeah, origami. Hey, my suburban neighborhood was tough.

Me? I’m a guy who actually likes to sing in public. Sometimes I even get paid for it (insert punchline here). Public speaking? Hah! I have three words for that: Bring. It. On. You see, there aren’t too many things that will send me curling into fetal position with embarrassment.

Except one. I can’t draw. Never could and, I dare say, never will.

I still can’t figure out why I didn’t take an art class in high school. Of course, I never took a shop class, either, but that’s because the girls with the tattoos frightened the living shop-lights out of me. And those were the teachers. As for the art department, perhaps I didn’t want to get oil paints on my “My Mother the Car” lunch box. Who knows? At any rate, I can’t draw. Anything. Let me put it this way. The game “hangman” is way, way beyond my abilities.

That’s where gardening comes in. You’ll note that to this point I have not mentioned the words “gardening” or “plants” or anything like that, which makes my publisher and my editor very nervous. They’ve obviously never listened to my radio show. Anyway, the big bucks in gardening don’t come from growing plants or digging up yards or running nurseries or writing gardening columns or even hosting radio shows. Non, non, non, mes amis.

The big bucks are in design. Which means drawing. Which means count me out. Until now, that is. I have discovered computer programming and computer “big gardening bucks” software. Which I am going to try out on you. I went to my favorite Virtual Gardens R Us computer store and picked up a little disc that lets me do the drawing that has so far stunted my adult emotional growth. You pop it into the computer, click a couple of buttons, and even a jamoke like me can turn out this kind of award-winning drawing:

All I can say is, look at that design and weep, folks. Martha Stewart, I’m right behind you. Hmm, that didn’t come out exactly right.

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From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2015

Illinois is an agricultural state. We all know that, right? But did you also know that Illinois imports 90 percent of its food


questions

This past spring I planted a lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) in full sun. As winter began, the angle of the sun’s rays has caused the tree to receive, at most, 4 hours of sun. What are sun requirements of evergreens in winter?

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 have a large variegated sedum with pink flowers that I have had for years. I noticed that it has started to send up some all-green shoots. Why is it doing this and how can I keep my plant variegated?

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