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Showing posts from March, 2020

'Being There' - Garden Wisdom for the Ages

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One of my favorite movies is "Being There," a 1979 film starring Peter Sellers. 

It was directed by Hal Ashby, adapted from a novella by Jerzy Kozinski.

 Sellers plays Chance, the gardener, who tends the grounds of an estate in Washington, DC.  



Chance has the mind of a child (the role is a forerunner to Forrest Gump) and knows only two things:  gardening and TV.

  He is reclusive and illiterate and has lived and worked on this property his entire life. 

When his boss, the Old Man, dies at the beginning of the film he finds himself on the street and is soon inadvertently walking the halls of power and prestige. 





His encounters with highly placed people are very funny. They are charmed by his simplicity and honesty. 

They think 'Chauncy Gardiner' is a wise and profound man who uses metaphors of the garden to answer deep and thorny questions, when, of course, gardening is all he knows.



He quickly rises to public prominence and becomes a media sensation. The film  exposes a soc…

My wonderful story about Organic Soil

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On April 29, 2010 Anne Raver of the New York Times asked:
"How does Tony Avent, the horticultural mythbuster, grow so many plants successfully in his garden? Rule No. 1: he uses the same mix of 40 percent native soil, dug on his own land, and 60 percent compost for every plant.

''The soil for every plant we have is prepared exactly the same, whether it's a pitcher plant or an agave,'' ....
After he switched to organics, he said, ''it took about a year before everything started jumping. Our insect problems disappeared. It was just amazing.'' ...."
(Tony Avent runs the wonderful Plant Delights Nursery - offering an incredibly diverse collection of plants and the catalog is a collectors' item) This observation took me back to 1972 when I was a landscape architecture student at the University of Hawaii and also minoring in tropical agriculture

The university farm was in Pearl City ( next to Pearl Harbor) and it was divided into one large se…

Sermons in Stones

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In these times, I look to one of my favorite Shakespare passages. They say being outside is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy. This is so apt for these times -  "Exempt from public haunt" indeed:


"Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

- Shakespeare, As You Like It

Gardening Ideas for Troubled Times

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During this time of  Covid-19,  we must cultivate outselves, our well being and our gardens. Plants can be a soothing balm for troubled times. 
This is modified from the National Garden Bureau- click on the words for some great and informative links. 
Start some seeds.
Plan a vegetable garden.
Plan to grow flowers for the joy they bring.
Take an online class about plants or gardens, or watch some YouTube instruction videos.

Plan an herb garden.
Take a walk in a nearby natural area: woods, field, desert, beach or park. 

Take this time to groom or repot houseplants. Remove dead leaves, refresh the soil, take cuttings of favorites so that later you can share the wealth with friends.


Create a new indoor display of plants. Make a row of small pots in bloom on your kitchen counter or the windowsill above your sink. 

Plan a new

Variegated Solomon's Seal - Deer resistant plant

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