Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Noontime Gardener Year In Review. Amy Maurer for Bexley Public Radio

Now that the days are getting longer, the Noontime Gardener is emerging from a semi-dormant state and looking toward sun and warmth and all those things that start the annual recycling of plant life. The seed catalogs arrive in January!

I feel the need to decide which plant to pick for the 2010 "Plants You Should Get to Know" observation. In 2007 we followed the paw paws as they grew, flowered, fruited, and senesced in golden splendor in the Fall. In 2008 a north Bexley Ziziphus jujuba got a similar review. 2009 wasn't quite so exciting. We're all familiar with mulberries. They grow up in the most inconvenient spots from seeds dropped by passing birds and rummaging rodents. They become gnarly pests in the alleys and hedgerows of our neighborhoods, and if I were to draw a haunted house I would surely place a mulberry tree in the picture. But, if the wildlife love them so much that they persistently keep them growing, perhaps we are missing something. If I had found some lower branching trees I would have baked these fruits into a delicious pie, but picking them up off the ground doesn't work well. Mulberries are so fragile - the goodness is too easily dissolved in the water and washed away. So, alas, no goodies came to the studio this year. Any suggestions for 2010?

Three fairly new books became part of my personal library this year. Now that the Bexley Public Library levy has passed, they should find their way onto the shelves and be read by more people. Niall Edworthy's typically tongue-in-cheek British humor makes The Curious Gardener's Almanac appealing to everyone, but remember that central Ohio and the English countryside do have significant differences. I cite page 29: "No matter how severe a summer drought, no one's lawn has ever died from lack of water. It can survive up to eight months without rain." Don't follow this advice. I guarantee your lawn will die here in central Ohio. As for the book, no garden experience necessary, and it's already in the Bexley Library.

My husband patiently caters to my chlorophyll-induced cravings and gifted me with The Teeth of the Lion by Anita Sanchez for my birthday. It's everything you could ever want to know about the lowly and much maligned dandelion, whose commonality makes it one of the lowliest of the plants we relegate to "weed" status. Again, a garden book even a non-gardener can enjoy.

Wicked Plants, subtitled The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart is a wake-up call for anyone who might be delusional enough to think that if it's natural, it can't hurt me. Yes, there are a great many plants which should never appear on the dinner table, with graphic accounts of what could happen if they did, and some with historical biographies to illustrate the point. Not a book for those with paranoid tendencies, but perhaps a good alternative for ghost stories around a campfire. The pen-and-ink illustrations are almost as exciting as the text.

The station management (not I) instituted the first annual tomato growing contest. It sounded like a great idea at first, but my excitement has succumbed to a vision some years hence when we have been so successful at promoting this activity, that I have to visit and interview more gardens than there are daylight hours to do it all in. I might develop a real aversion to tomatoes - perhaps even break out in hives when I see one. Or, more practically, I may have to train the management on the fine art of tomato judging and spread the burden of finding Bexley's best fruits.

Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
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Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
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Bexley Public Radio Foundation is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation or WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Amy Maurer.

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