Helpful reminders from your resident garden genius


Faithful readers, that time of year has come when Grumpy and the Missus escape the surly bonds of home to explore the wonders of the world. Rest assured, I will attend to your needs when I return. Until then, here is a list of simple things you can do to make your gardening a joy in my absence.

Bring your garden tools inside. Don’t let them rust in a heap by the garage door. Rusty tools lying about make you look shiftless and old.

Wear rubber gloves whenever mixing up that water-soluble, blue fertilizer, lest the liquid permanently stain your skin that color and neighbors think you’re a character from Avatar.

Remove piles of disgusting, wet, rotting tree leaves that still layer your grass and garden beds. They’ll smother plants under them. Wait until they’re dry and run over them with a mulching mower. They’ll make the best compost or mulch you’ve ever had.

Do not prune back your crepe myrtles into thick, ugly stumps! Crepe murder marks you as a person of exceedingly low quality.

Do not prune maples now or they will bleed sap for weeks. Wait until summer.

Should you make the very wise decision to cut down your stinking ‘Bradford’ pear this year, paint the stump surface immediately with Brush Killer according to label directions. If you don’t, the roots left in the ground will send up suckers for the next thousand years.

Don’t be fooled by unseasonably warm weather into setting outside tender annuals and veggies before your last spring frost. Doing so ensures a killing frost the next day.

Transplant trees and shrubs while they are still dormant. This minimizes any shock to the root system.

Show pride in our Southern traditions. Put up a bottle tree in your front yard using only cobalt-blue, Milk of Magnesia bottles. You can get them on eBay.