'The Seeds of Spring'
Just finished reading a charming book by Steve Bates called "The Seeds of Spring: Lessons from the Garden." Usually I'm not crazy about books that wax poetic about the parallels between gardening and life -- they come off trite or sappy. But this one has plenty of practical garden advice and an offbeat attitude to make it a good read.
The author/gardener spent 14 years as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post, worked at Nations Business magazine and other publications. He's a good writer first, and then a good gardener, so the story flows well.
A chapter about the Chicken Empathy Museum and his passages about weed obsession had me in stitches.
Here's an excerpt from "The Seeds of Spring":
"Know Einstein's definition of 'insanity'? It's doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result. Well, gardening must be the embodiment of insanity, because I'm doing the same thing over and over and hoping against hope that I'll get the upper hand someday. Because we humans were made to strive for the seemingly impossible, to reach for the stars, to curse the heavens when beaten back in our quests. We're not going to let a few weeds get the better of us, are we? Because we know what happens if we let them get the upper hand: Good plants die.
"There's a nearly foolproof process for determining what is a weed and what is not a weed. Pull it from the ground: If it fights you and refuses to come out without massive effort, it's a weed. If it comes out easily, it was a good plant. Sort of like the tests used in Salem, Massachusetts, to figure out who was a witch: If they tried to drown you and failed, you're a witch. If they submerged you and you drowned, you were not. Not good news for the innocent in either case, but you work with the tools you have.
"Even after incessant weeding, application of herbicides and a few thinly veiled threats against some offending plants in your garden you seem to get the upper hand, others appear or spread at warp speed right behind your back. Carried by wind, water, animals, FedEx delivery guys or who knows what, they find a way."
"The Seeds of Spring: Lessons from the Garden" (Create Space/Breaking Ground Books, 2010, $9.95) is available from Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle editions.
A nip for your flowers
Mary Helen Tully tells me that if you add a shot of gin to your paperwhites they will be more fragrant!
"True story ... I do it every year. Gin is a derivative of juniper berries, a cousin to paperwhites ..., so the story goes. I always put mine in a bowl in glass floral beads. This year I added sea shells and pearl ornaments. Add water and one shot of gin. Too much gin and they grow too tall and fall over. Cross my heart!"
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.