Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Garden Report #19

October 10th, 2010

Marcus and Tina's boy 'Pascal'
Sitting in the garden: It is yet again, another lovely fall day in Regina. Temperatures have been in the twenties and the wind has been gentle. Many of the leaves have drifted from their summer perches but the American Elms hang onto a few of their golden beauties, refusing to give up the fight, just yet. Two young squirrels play a game of tag in the Dolgo Crab. One falls out of the tree landing on the lawn below. Their mother warned them about roughhousing but they did not listen. Murphy spots the disoriented creature but does not launch an attack. Experience has taught him that squirrels climb trees quicker than cats. If cats can laugh, I think he is doing it right now. The coffee is dark, the cinnamon buns are fresh and Mother Nature sings her chant.

• Jan Pederson, who owned Shelmerdine’s Garden Center in Winnipeg, was in town for a few days. Jan stopped by for supper on Tuesday and I caught up on the news from the trade. He left me with a catalogue from Byland’s, the wholesale nursery he is now representing. The reason I mention this is there are many readers who are from the landscaping and greenhouse trade and they all know Jan. For the readers not from the trade, I will read the catalogue and tell you about some of the new introductions that are coming into the market place.

Role Models: This man I know told me that he wants to be a role model for his children. I admire his aspiration. I know a little bit about this fellow so I asked him a tough but important question. How does hitting the mother of his children make him a role model? He glared at me. Now that I had his attention, I asked him how getting drunk and using drugs and going off to jail for bad behavior was being a role model? He no longer speaks to me. In fact, he avoids me when he sees me downtown. On the other end of the spectrum, my friend from the old neighborhood, Rob Pyne, has been inducted into The Sports Hall of Fame this week. A worthy award for Rob. Rob is a role model but he is so modest that if you asked him about being a role model, he would say “I just like to help out.” All Rob did, was show up to coach football teams for the last thirty years, helping young boys to enjoy sports. The first fellow I wrote about thinks he wants to be a role model, but he doesn’t want to do the work.

Heather's Moose
Readers write: Les Vanderveen from Carman, Manitoba“…enjoying the weekly reports.” Marcus Fernado from Croatia sent along several photos of his seven month old son, Pascal. Pascal is a real cutie so I included one of his photos in the attachment. Everybody say “aaahhh.” Heather Lowe sent in a photo of a moose wandering close to her farm at Zehner, north of town. Neighbor Jack Tunnicliffe, took a photo of our house, capturing the setting sun bouncing off of the complex roof line. Gwen Scott of Fort Langley, B.C. is a new reader and she responded with “You have an engaging way of writing.” Chris Pasterfield weighed in on the fish and chip story. Chris writes that the old Blue Schooner that was located on north Broad, had the best chips in town. Sadly, they are no longer in business. Chris also reminds everyone that chips must be eaten with malt vinegar to get the best experience. I agree. Lyn Goldman writes that she is enjoying this lovely autumn weather as are most of us. We have a new reader from Beaumont, California named Kevin Gray. Welcome to the blog. Jan Pederson says that The Garden Report captures moments in time and he enjoys it for that reason. Coleen Mahoney writes “I too have been enjoying your weekly blog.” Chris Dodd wrote: “Getting The Garden Report makes my day.”

Grads gone wild with overindulgence: I wrote about this in last week’s blog and several of you responded. All were in agreement as to how they have gotten way over the top. One respondent referred to the displays as a “gluttony”. It was as if I had walked onto the set of ‘Gone With the Wind’ at the last function I attended.

Simpler Times: I also wrote about how my parents got married in the middle of the war with no pomp, no ceremony, and no money. Roberta Nichol wrote in how her mom and dad got married and how her dad had five cents left in his pocket, which his new bride used to buy an ice cream cone. There is absolutely no correlation between a two hundred thousand dollar wedding and the amount of love that exists between two people.

Words: Of all the words that can be written about love and marriage, perhaps the most overlooked one is ‘cherish’. Recently, I was told the story of a wife who was speaking in an extremely disparaging way of her husband, and doing so in front of strangers. I thought, what is it that we fail to grasp about that word cherish and how do we apply it in our own lives. Move over Dr. Phil.

As a child, I thought as a child: When I was ten years old, I was totally convinced that the only reason my parents got married was to have me. I could never understand why mom and dad wanted to do stuff that didn’t include the kids. On Saturday nights, Dad would take Mom to a movie downtown. They would see a Doris Day flick. Mom would tell us the next morning about how wonderful the film had been and inevitably, her review always ended with a “and everyone learned to get along.” The subtly of my mother’s reviews was not lost on us kids.

Sadly: Many of our readers remember Murray Metz who along with Ernie Wurm, were the maintenance men that kept Lakeview Gardens’ physical plant up and running. Murray passed away at a much too young age of sixty-six this week. A senior complained about the price of Christmas trees “when they used to be five dollars in the good old days”. Murray looked at the fellow and said “yep, and both of us remember when butter was ten cents a pound.” The senior laughed and bought the tree.

Old friends: At Murray’s memorial, I ran into Barb Boyle who was the greenhouse manager at Lakeview for many years. Many of you would remember her. She was also an outstanding decorator of our Christmas trees every December. She is now working as a bookkeeper for a local restaurant.

Garden Tip: I am asking a few of my friends with greenhouses to grow some heirloom tomatoes for next season. Heirlooms managed to survive the blight that destroyed the hybrids. I will keep you posted on this issue.

The sun setting on the Angus Street side of our house
• Strange but true: A few years ago, our dog McIvor died. I had his body cremated and used the ashes as bone meal in my tulip beds. After all, the garden was his favorite spot to hang out. The following spring, my pure white tulips came up a golden yellow, the exact color of McIvor’s coat. It was as if he was saying hello.

Statute of limitations: In speaking with a friend, he told me that someone recently reminded him of the time he drove his car into the lake, when he was sixteen. My friend is now fifty-two. He has a very successful career and four children, all in university. He said “I don’t deny that I did some stupid things when I was in my teens, but eventually there has to be an expiry date on those events.” I know how he feels. Last month, I ran into someone who had heard a story about something dumb I had done in 1967. Somehow, he thought it was relevant to 2010. I do not deny that I have been stupid: It is just that forty-three years have gone by. There has to be a statute of limitations on this stuff.

Adages: People who know me know that I love to quote adages. Just something I do. The appropriate adage for the story above is ‘build forty bridges and no one calls you an engineer…but get caught with one goat and they never forget.” Crude but funny.

Garden Tip: Things you can still be doing in the garden this week? Pruning, digging the flower and vegetable beds, planting tulips, dividing perennials, digging out the lawn to prepare the new perennial bed you have been talking about for the last four years. Yeah. That’s right. Your wife told me about that little project that never gets done.

Persistent cough: There is a really bad cough going around the city right now. One of the neighbors came down with it and it was so severe that she actually woke me up around six the other morning. The poor lady was coughing and she had an open window and the sound flowed into my bedroom. I have been hearing that it lasts close to two weeks.

The bread of life: I have mentioned three places for good bread at different times. Here they are under one heading. Beer Bros. make some wonderful bread including a sour dough multigrain loaf. You can buy the bread at The Italian Star on Victoria. Maple Leaf on 11th makes a wonderful sour rye, a great pumpernickel and a Saskatchewan Fields which is a multigrain. Over at La Patisserie on Broad, they put out an olive and rosemary bread that will knock your socks off. Sadly, I have not had any bread from Safeway, Sobeys or The Northgate that impressed me.

Garden Tip: With the cool nights, my white bacopa has never been brighter. It glows. Also, my white pansies are back to their full glory now that the rains have stopped. Pansies will tolerate -7 with ease.

• What does age have to do with it? A woman I know has a father in law who is 88, widowed, and lives in a senior’s home. He has a girlfriend or lady friend or whatever you wish to call her. He holds hands with her and his daughter in law thinks that is ‘cute’. But she caught them making out and she was abhorred! I don’t understand her reaction. If we want to kiss a pretty girl when we are twenty, and we do, why would we not want to kiss a pretty girl when we are eighty-eight?

• A note for our international readers, this is our Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Below is not a typo.

• Have a lovely Thanksgiving…Rod McDonald in very sunny Regina!

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