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Mike’s 2nd Annual Holiday Hort Sing-Along


It’s been that kind of year. I’ve been breaking all sorts of personal rules.

I don’t know what came over me when I put actual information into this column (see July/August). I think I was suffering from a summer fever.

And here I go again. I never repeat column ideas, but I’m reprising my holiday sing-along. Maybe it was the letter from the woman who said she read my songs and couldn’t stop crying. Or perhaps it was the letter from my editor who said, “If you don’t have a column to us by tomorrow, we’re putting a monkey at a keyboard and seeing what he produces.”

Interestingly, I whipped up this baby pretty fast. Hope you can find your pitch pipe.

Let It Grow

(To the tune “Let It Snow”)

Oh, the mentha outside is frightful, But the scent is so delightful, And since we’ve misplaced the hoe, Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.

It doesn’t show signs of stopping, And it won’t respond to lopping; We prob’ly should act but, oh, Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.

When I finally get a clue, How I’ll hate going out in the yard; Though it’s something that’s overdue, Pulling it shouldn’t be hard.

Now the garden is slowly dying, And, we’re wringing hands and crying, Let’s get rid of the house and blow; Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.

White Fungus

(To the tune “White Christmas”)

I’m dreaming of a white fungus Just like the one on my new rose. Where the leaves are icky They’re gnarled and sticky I think maybe I got hosed.

I’m haunted by a white fungus I’m checking out my legal right. I may just give up and sit tight. Or may call my lawyer friend tonight

Blue Hydrangea

(To the tune “Blue Christmas”)

I’ll have a blue Hydrangea this season. I want a blue one without any reason. Those old rules ‘bout pH, They just make my teeth ache. If I can’t grow one, I’ll get myself a fake.

I’ll have a blue Hydrangea, that’s certain; And if I don’t that plant will be hurtin’. You’ll be doing all right With your mop heads of white, But I’ll have a blue, blue Hydrangea.

O Compost, Ye Faithful

(To the tune “O Come, All Ye Faithful”)

O compost, ye faithful, cabbage and kohlrabi, O compost, o compost, but don’t use the ham. Compost your veggies, shame your friends and neighbors

O composting is righteous, O composting is righteous, O composting is righteous, Dirt’s your reward.

Yea, pile we turn thee, Then we reach for Bengay. Microbes to thee be all green stuff giv’n Strange, creepy slime mold, now on top appearing

O composting is righteous, O composting is righteous, O composting is righteous, Dirt’s your reward.

O Bradford Pear

(To the tune “O Christmas Tree”)

O Bradford Pear, O Bradford Pear, You’re planted much too often.

O Bradford Pear, O Bradford Pear, I hope your sales, they soften.

Though people like your white-ish flowers, We measure your life-span in hours.

O Bradford Pear, O Bradford Pear, I’ll gladly build your coffin.

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questions

What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

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?

My split-leaf Japanese maple tree is 15 to 20 years old, about 7 feet high and about 10 feet wide. It is overtaking the corner of the yard. Can I trim it, and at what time of the year?

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