My gardening skills, or lack of same

Gracious, how could anyone, seeing a picture like this, cast aspersions on my gardening skills? (Though I admit I am kind of making fun of myself. People, this is the before photo; I really did weed out all that grass!)

Gracious, how could anyone, seeing a picture like this, cast aspersions on my gardening skills? (Though I admit I am kind of making fun of myself. People, this is the before photo; I really did weed out all that grass!)

It’s time, I think, to move the topic of Manse discussion away from animals. There have been a lot of cats, dogs and snakes here recently, and that’s all well and good, but let’s change the subject. To: my gardening skills.

Or possibly lack of same.

This evening Raymond and I and a whole lot of colleagues from the Montreal Gazette gathered to pay tribute and say goodbye to a truly excellent boss, our former publisher and editor-in-chief, Alan Allnutt, who is moving on to a fancy job as Vice-President, Western Region, Postmedia Network Canada Corp. Alan has been a mentor, friend and wonderful boss to us both for many years, and we have a hard time getting our heads around the idea that he won’t be at The Gazette anymore.

But he and his family are still based in Montreal – and as we all know, Montreal is only four and a half hours from: the Manse! In Queensborough! Alan has taken a kind and active interest in our Manse project. This evening as I took my leave from the farewell party (tough for me, because saying goodbye makes me very sad) I reminded him that he and his wife are overdue for a visit with us there.

To which he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, that he would be happy to visit, and that he might be able to offer some gardening assistance, since it seemed to be needed. People, I do believe he was casting aspersions on my gardening skills! (Which, come to think of it, would not be surprising, since I myself am constantly casting aspersions on my gardening skills. Because truth be told, my gardening skills are kind of nonexistent.)

So, boss, sure! Come and help us with the garden!

But in the meantime, in my own feeble gardening defence, I want to point out that I did sort out a neglected little strip of land behind the Manse’s garage not so long ago, and thanks to my efforts it should be awash with day lilies once we get to day-lily season. (When is that again? Oh – did I mention that I don’t know much about gardening?) Just look at these before, during and after photos!

BEFORE: Behind the Manse garage, a narrow strip neglected for many decades.

BEFORE: Behind the Manse garage, a narrow strip neglected for many decades.

MIDDLE: That same strip, after I personally and singlehandedly cleaned out all those dead leaves, old logs, and other assorted detritus. Note small daylily plants!

AFTER: That same strip, after I personally and singlehandedly cleaned out all those dead leaves, old logs, and other assorted detritus. Note small day-lily plants!

AFTER: Just look at those daylilies, growing like crazy and just waiting to burst into bloom! Is that not gardening? (What's thst you say? Oh.)

A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER: Just look at those day lilies, growing like crazy and just waiting to burst into bloom! Is that not great gardening? (What’s that you say? Day lilies are wildflowers, and grow no matter what anybody does? Oh.)

This is the point at which you are supposed to congratulate me for my efforts. But I do fully realize that this is not real gardening. So, Alan, here’s the deal: come for a visit and Raymond and I will show you all the sights of Queensborough and Elzevir Township and Hastings County generally. And we will serve up the finest possible meals that the Manse’s tiny and rudimentary kitchen can produce. But in return: you have to share some serious garden knowledge. And possibly some hard garden labour!

6 thoughts on “My gardening skills, or lack of same

  1. Off topic, I know, but thats neat that you work at the Gazette ? (both of you ?). Is either of you a newspaper historian of any sort ? In the last couple years I’ve become fascinated with the history of colonial newspapers and old Canadian newspapers. Its a fascinating history. Raymond might remember that the only copy Canada’s first newspaper, its very first edition, was held by the Mass. Hist’l Soc’y until it was repatriated a few years back. One of my favourite newspaper slogans was from the Liverpool transcript: “The friend of all, the slave of none.” !!

    • Hi Mark! Yes, both Raymond and I work at The Gazette. Newspaper historians? Well, we’re certainly both interested in history, and in newspaper history, but I don’t think either of us yet qualifies as a newspaper historian. (Though given a bit of time for soem research work, I can see Raymond especially fitting into that role quite nicely.) He tells me he did not know the story of the Massachusetts Historical Society holding that copy of – the Halifax Gazette, I suppose? Interesting! I totally love the Transcript’s slogan. Words for newspapers (especially small-town newspapers) to live by!

      • Words to live by indeed. Just not in 18th c. Canada. Makes one wonder, then, why the powers that be in Canada kept allowing in American printers w/ republican notions…. The Transcript’s brash motto was no doubt propelled by the previous actions of William Lyon MacKenzie and Joseph Howe.

        How ’bout them Bruins ? Hockey in June just seems so exotic when you live in the T-dot.

        I almost went to journalism school….wish I had of…

        anyways…uh, gardening….right..

      • Not a good day for gardening, Mark! I am beginning to wonder if the sun will ever shine in these parts again. But yes, hockey: you can probably imagine how excited Taymond was with his Bruins’ victory last night!

  2. Your day lilies are going to be beautiful. I have such a brown thumb, but I have recently learned that I have an amazing ability to grow weeds. They thrive in my garden and some are currently exceeding the size of the bushes in the landscape surrounding them. I’ve also learned that despite my ability to kill them, they are amazingly resilient…they just keep coming back. Hhhmmm…if only I could profit from weeds!

    • Hi, Darlington Delights! I think you and I have a lot in common when it comes to gardening. But at least you seem to know what are weeds and what are not; when I am weeding my garden one of the problems that I face is that I’m not always sure which is which! But thank you for my confidence in the daylilies, which is probably well-merited, daylilies being so hardy and all. Have you got them in your garden?

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