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The 29 Steps


One of the things I’ve come to notice about the horticultural racket (and I’m using the term with extreme fondness, unless I’m not), is that everyone seems to be looking for “the next great thing.” You can hardly blame them. Horticulture is not exactly a lucrative profession. In terms of annual income, it ranks somewhere just above chainsaw juggling and just below origami design. You could look it up on the world wide web. Whatever that is.

Anyway, this is the time of year when folks get all buggy-eyed about their lawns. So I thought I’d take those people to the cleaners and offer some practical advice that I think just might turn out to be “the next great thing” in lawn care. Here’s how I figure it. The American way of thinking is “more is better.” Thus, if four pounds of manure is the recommended fertilizer application, heck, why not just buy the darned cow and stick her on your lawn? See what I mean?

By the same token, if a 4-step program is good, then 8 steps must be better, 12 steps sublime, and Mike Nowak’s 29 Step Lawn Care Program (patent pending) must be utter TURF GRASS NIRVANA!

Hang on to your John Deeres. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Wait for spring.

Step 2: Open door, stick finger in air. If it doesn’t freeze off, spring has arrived.

Step 3: Find lawn.

Step 4: Examine lawn.

Step 5: (and this is important) Step back, sip libation and contemplate lawn.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6.

Step 8: Re-check lawn.

Step 9: Ask question: “Is it green?”

Step 10: a) If the answer to Step 9 is “yes,” proceed to Step 29. b) If the answer to Step 9 is “no,” proceed to Step 11.

Step 11: Ask question: “Do I really care?”

Step 12: a) If the answer to Step 11 is “no,” proceed to Step 29. b) If the answer to Step 11 is “yes,” proceed to Step 13.

Step 13: Ask question: “Why?”

Step 14: (and this is important) Step back, sip libation and contemplate answer to Step 13.

Step 15: Repeat Step 14.

Step 16: Repeat Step 15.

Step 17: Check lawn for weeds.

Step 18: Ask question: “What is a weed?”

Step 19: Admit that you don’t know the answer to Step 18.

Step 20: Admit that knowing that you don’t know the answer to Step 18 is the first step towards lawn enlightenment.

Step 21: (and this is important) Step back, light incense, sip green tea and contemplate your lawn enlightenment.

Step 22: Pour something a little stronger into that green tea.

Step 23: Air out house.

Step 24: View lawn in a completely different light.

Step 25: Become one with lawn.

Step 26: Lie on your back on lawn and examine cloud formations.

Step 27: Wave to neighbors.

Step 28: Talk to crabgrass.

Step 29: Re-enter house, sip libation and contemplate 29 Step Program for Cleaning Garage.

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questions

Late last year most of the leaves on my year-old seven-son tree (Heptacodium) turned brown, starting at the tips. It had some new growth on the tips and buds. I used a tree ring soaker hose every two weeks.

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?

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.

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