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This Gardener's Wish List

In my family, we make lists for Santa. Mine has garden items at the top.

A cyclamen. Houseplants sustain the gardener's soul in winter — especially winter bloomers. I love the bright colors of cyclamens' shooting-star flowers, and the silvery patterns on the dark-green leaves. I learned to water just enough, give them good light but no direct sun, keep them between 40° and 50°F at night and less than 68°F in daytime. But still they kept dying!

Or so I thought — until finally I've learned they go dormant. When the plant stops blooming and the leaves start turning yellow and falling off, I should stop watering and put it in a dry, cool place (light is okay) until fall.

Beautiful foliage keeps me going when flowers fade. I already have two different kinds of gorgeous and tough Variegated Peperomia obtusifolia; a third is on my list: called 'Ginny', it has pink edges on cream-and-green leaves.

Tools to help my back. For example I'm trying to learn to use hoes, to stop bending over to pull weeds. Unfortunately pulling them seems to work better than the hoes I've tried so far. Next I'd like to try a "trapezoid hoe" sold by Johnny's Selected Seeds, that has razor-sharp, replaceable spring steel blades, made in in Switzerland by Glaser Engineering.

For some reason, it's my upper back that's worst; I'm better bending my lower back. So I've discovered that I last longer weeding if I'm sittting on the ground — not on any kind of seat that raises me up. I've been using a piece of cardboard to keep my pants from getting rubbed into the grass or dirt — but I thought of something that might work even better: a "Flying Saucer" — you know, one of those snow toys. With its dish shape, perhaps I could even scoot it along the ground.

Large flat rocks in rounded, natural shapes. I'd like to convert all my garden paths that are now covered with mulch, to stepping stones: less maintenance, and more room for tucking in low little plants around them.

Big plastic self-watering pots. (Ceramic ones are more attractive but they stop working when the minerals salts in your water clog up the pores in the inner unglazed section.) I'm hoping they will give me enough time before I have to get around to watering, that I can grow flowers on the porch.

© Copyright 2003 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 5 December 2003

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