Odd Thoughts: Gardening just got a bit harder

Gardening just got a bit harder


Things are changing.

And I don’t like it.

No sir, I don’t like it a bit.

After pulling the plug on my editing computer late last spring, pulling back to just a couple of hours or so per week at the keyboard, simply penning my maundering thoughts (in maundering sentences, apparently), I have been looking forward to spending very nearly full time in my garden this spring.

And sure enough, my gardening guru announces that she’s putting herself out to pasture, as well.

How am I supposed to cope with slugs and aphids without Anne Marrison to guide me to a successful harvest?

How will I know when to prune the roses and trim the hedges?

How will I know the best time to transplant the primroses?

Sow the spinach?

Trellis the tomatoes?

Bag the beans?

Pick the peas?

Stash the squash?

And there are a thousand other little jots and tittles that she kept straight on the gardener’s calendar for myself and thousands of others in Maple Ridge and Langley and throughout the Lower Mainland over the past three decades?

Luckily, her gardening advice, proffered in plain, simple, and engaging language accessible to everyone from the greenhorn to the green thumb, has been timeless.

Treasured columns clipped and pinned to refrigerators and garden shed walls or tucked into scrap books and garden planners remain invaluable.

I must say that some of my personal favourites were her historical musings on plant-related traditions around some of the holidays, especially Christmas holly and mistletoe lore and Halloween pumpkin and turnip origins.

And her introductions to new and better choices of flowers and veggies, comparing them to old and even better heritage varieties.

And of course, her tips on when and how to handle stubborn weeds and pests and…

Oh, heck, I liked them all.

As an editor, the punctual arrival of Anne’s columns in my mail box, was a highlight of my week for nearly three decades. Her friendly and developed writing style gave me little work except to find and earmark an appropriate space on a page, and slap on a headline. She was a joy to work with.

And as an editor, I must say I appreciated that punctuality and the fluidity of her writing almost as much as I appreciated the columns’ contents as an avid wannabe full-time gardener.

More’s the pity that, now that I could simply open a copy of the local paper to read her columns – without the responsibility of placing the column on those pages – they’ll no longer be there.

Anne and her gardening wisdom have had a long and fruitful (pun intended!) run, and I wish her the greatest hopes possible for a satisfying and relaxing retirement and, I’m sure, her plants and pots and garden plots.

Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to find another way to keep up with garden club and Van Dusen sales and special new products to make our gardening endeavours as delightful as Anne herself.

And Christmas gifts… did I mention her excellent annual suggestions to help Santa with the gardeners on his list?

Congratulations, Anne, on a long and successful career.

But it’s looking like a particularly early spring this year, so there’s already lots to do!

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