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When Garden Clubs Go Bad


I had the weirdest dream last night…

“Okay, kids, let’s simmer down! Hey, everybody, we only have the room until 9 o’clock. The Corpse Flower Club is coming in and we don’t want to be around when that happens, if you know what I mean.

Okay. Great turnout tonight, folks! There are still a bunch of threats — I mean treats on the table by the door. We can thank Sylvia for the lavender-infused blueberry tofu mushroom cupcakes. Are there any left? What? Lots left? Try ‘em with some of that mango clam peanut butter sauce. Or not. Whoa, Lou, go easy on the absinthe! You doing your Toulouse-Lautrec impersonation or something? Save some for the rest of us! Grab a seat and don’t forget to give it back at the end of the evening.

Okay. I understand we have a couple of guests here tonight. Would you please stand up? C’mon, don’t be shy. Thank you. Get a good look at those faces, folks. You are looking at a couple of Russian bots. Spies, right?”

“No, we were invited–”

“Sure you were, Natasha. Save it for the judge. We know how the world works in the 21st Century. And we’re fine with that. Like the song says, everybody’s trying to be my baby. Hey, all in good fun. Drop a sawbuck in the tip jar and we’ll let you stay. Alright, Arlene has a couple of announcements. Arlene?”

“Thanks, Darlene. As you know, we’re having our ‘found’ garden objects sale next month. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so go out and ‘find’ those garden objects! For those of you who haven’t done this before, some good places to ‘find’ garden objects — and you might notice that I keep using air quotes — are your neighbor’s back porch or your neighbor’s garage. Relatives are good, too, especially during backyard cookouts, when things get a little crazy — especially if you use your kids as a distraction. I don’t know how, but a couple of years ago my brother-in-law’s wheelbarrow ended up in my van. Oh, well.”

“I’ll bet he’s still looking for it, Arlene!”

“Looking for what? By the way, we still have some tickets for the trip to the Artificial Turf and Plastic Flower Show at the Buy ‘N’ Cry Superstore Parking Lot next month. Thanks to Lois and the good folks at A-Plus Plastics for donating the passes. Matter of fact, we have plenty of passes left. I’m telling you, best thing about this show — rain or shine, nothing gets ruined! Well, unless somebody wants a few of those tickets — just get your hand up — do I see any hands? Uh, that’s all I got, Shirley.”

“Okey poke, Arlene. Moving on, there are a couple of books in the back that need a good home. One of them is a set of books called Everything About Gardening, A to Z. Actually, it’s a set of book. The letter “K,” to be precise. So, if you’re a big kohlrabi fan, you hit the jackpot. ‘Course, I can use it as a small cheese plate if nobody needs to study up on kudzu. Or kiwi. But it’s there for the taking. Don’t everybody pounce on it at once. And there’s another book…Dan, you found that in your basement, right? Award Winning Gardens of the 48 Great States. When’s the last time you went down into that basement, Dan? Oh, and it feels like this meeting is brought to you by the letter “K.” Are we on Sesame Street or something? And Marlene has a few trays of some darling little K-plants that she wants to share with the group. What are those things, Mar?”

“I’ve got dozens and dozens of them, and you’re all welcome to take as many as you want. As far as I can tell, they’re called “knotweed” and they’re the easiest things to raise. They practically grow themselves!”

“Put me down for half a dozen, Mar. Well, we’re very pleased to have Mr. Nowak with us today, who will give us a demonstration of garden hose coiling, followed by his hori hori knife juggling tricks. So let’s all take five, grab a cupcake and shot of absinthe, and get back in our seats for a great presentation. Okay, kids?”

That’s when I awoke in a cold sweat. No more bedtime absinthe for me. And if you want me to speak at your garden club, please include a couple of references. No particular reason.

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questions

Our Russian sage (Perovskia) is full and bountiful but will not stay upright. Is there anything we can do? Is there a way to split some off when it has outgrown its space? Should it be trimmed back in fall or spring?

From what I have read, hellebores are supposed to spread. I have a few I planted four years ago, and they seem to be the same as when I planted them. They are planted in a bed of vinca. Should I remove more vinca that surrounds them? I do fertilize them and protect them with a winter mulch. What else should I be doing to have more plants?

At the end of every winter, there are many shrubs growing along sidewalks that are dead and damaged either by salt, wind or dogs. Are there any shrubs that I can plant in these more exposed situations and expect them to survive?

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