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The Garden ‘Splainer™


See what I did there? That little “TM” next to the title? It means “Get your grubby, dirt-under-the-fingernails mitts off my idea! PRONTO!”

There are so few original concepts left in the horticultural universe that the nanosecond one of those puppies pops up in your feverish, pesticide-shriveled frontal lobe, you need to slap a “™” or a “©” on that baby before it shows up on social media and suddenly Martha Stewart is selling Gardening Chaps™ emblazoned with the only original idea you’ve had in 20 years.

Bet you didn’t realize that the gardening world was so cutthroat, did you? And you probably also didn’t know that Garden Communicators (can I TM that?) are on an unrelenting quest to cash in on an idea whose time has not yet come and, more than likely, will never arrive.

Neither did I. After all, I’m the guy who thought that the path to fame and riches was through a local radio gardening show. Okay, okay. When you finish snorting coffee through your nose, you can wipe off the page and continue reading.

Have you heard about my book, Great One-Time Use Gardening Tools©? Of course you haven’t! Who wants to buy a gardening tool so they can use it exactly one time? However, that’s a very different question from Who buys a gardening tool and then uses it exactly one time? The answer to that: millions of people. Heck, I have a few of those tools in my garage right now, as bright and shiny as the day they were purchased, probably not by me but by well-meaning friends. I’m not going to name them – the friends or the tools – because I’m already losing friends at an alarming rate and the tools probably have TMs or ©s on them and I’ll end up in court. Again. You’d be amazed at how often garden guys get sued.

Then there was my follow up book, The No Maintenance Ever Ever Ever, Not Even Putting the Plants in the Ground in the First Place Secret to Successful Gardening™. That one was going to make me a zillion dollars ... if the technique had worked even a little bit.

So as I sat in my garage next to the pile of never-used gardening tools and the hundreds of boxes of books that were never going to be purchased, I was Struck By Lightheadedness™. At first, I attributed it to stacking hundreds of boxes of books and forgetting to stay hydrated. But I suddenly realized that another idea had climbed into my brain (without my permission) and had started germinating. (Yeah, I’m creeped out, too.)

The idea, though, was brilliant! I’ve never wanted to be a gardening guru, and not just because that phrase has already been copyrighted (or trademarked, whatever) It’s more about not wanting the pressure of being responsible for actually knowing stuff. That sounds like a lot of work, if you ask me.

On the other hand, I already have the radio show and I’m a Garden Column Guy™ (ooh! I don’t think that one’s taken yet!) So, like it or not, there are already folks out there who expect me to ’splain what’s going on in their gardens.

Voila! The Garden ’Splainer™©℠®*LOL ESPN (I’m covering all my bases. Come and get me, Martha!)

The great thing about this role is that I don’t really have to know anything. All I have to do is ’splain. Genius!

Here are some examples of how this works.

Question: Why does it take so long for my tomatoes to ripen?

The Garden ’Splainer: It’s nature’s way of passing judgment on your garden design. And probably your taste in music. That’s a pretty ugly tie, too.

Question: What’s the proper way to prune an apple tree?

The Garden ’Splainer: Wow. That’s a tough one. Okay, you ready? Look it up. Google would be a good start.

Question: What plants do you recommend for a shade garden?

The Garden ’Splainer: Oh, c’mon, that all you got? You want plants that will do well in ... wait for it ... shade!

Whew! I’m beat. It ain’t easy being The Garden ’SplainerNIMBY*TTYL.

I think it’s time to grab A Cold Frosty OneOMG and come up with few more ideas for my Get Rich Quick in Horticulture© audio books before I get Struck By Lightheadedness™ again.

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questions

Would it help to apply a starter fertilizer on a poor green lawn in December? Will it give it a head start for spring? It hasn’t been reseeded.

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 have read that purple coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good source of food for birds in the winter. Will they be okay if not trimmed back until spring? If so, how early should they be trimmed?

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