Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Load of Fertilizer

As a rule I shy away from seminars, classes, meetings and all forms of regimented assembly. And certainly I steer clear of any clubs or groups that would, as the saying goes, accept someone like me as a member. Yoga class is the one exception.

But this weekend Cheryl and I were drawn to a local plant nursery where a plant guru was scheduled to speak about Florida native plants that thrive in the shade--just exactly what I'm interested in.

We gathered outdoors in the perfect weather, sitting in a grove of oak trees (a place that I learned is called a hammock because of its slight elevation above a neighboring marshy place). About 30 people were assembled--granola crunchers with assorted khaki hats and hiking boots, serious tree-huggers. The popularity of Florida native plants is growing, mainly for all the right reasons: to reduce the use of herbicides and the drain on the water supply. These were my people, for sure.

I learned lots of things: the crinkly leaf ground cover in our yard is called basket grass, and it is a native. This gave me a warm fuzzy inside, and I was tempted to raise my hand (like in grade school) and tell the class that I have basket grass all over the place. In fact, I felt compelled to make them all like me, if only I could think of a way.

After about an hour I noticed that no one had asked a question about fertilizer yet. If I asked a good question, I reasoned, then everyone would like me. Timing is important. And just then the instructor mentioned the anise plant. My hand shot up, and I asked "What kind of fertilizer should I put on my new anise plants at home?" explaining how they were deep in the shade, etc.

"A very good question," he answered. Home run. "Very soon," he said with the most serious tone, "we will be forbidden by law from putting anything except a few types of chemical fertilizers into the earth."


Not a single person would look at me as he listed off the evils of fertilizer, even swatting down my attempt to weasel out and claim that I, of course, only meant organic fertilizer. But it was too late.

Cheryl, who had the good sense to wander around the nursery instead of sitting through the speech, laughed when I told her what happened. She asked, "Did you tell them that your favorite plant is a Chinese bamboo?"

Damn! I should have...


  1. Fred, it is just like you to bring up some shit..........

  2. I have just found your blog as it is after mine on the listings. I love it! Your dog is identical to mine, and your profile about being in charge made me laugh. Hope you don;t mind if I follow your gardening expoits. Thanks!

  3. Thanks. You are a very kind Pixie.