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It is always frustrating when I can’t remember where a favorite plant of many years came from. Or, especially, who it came from. My garden is fairly rife with hand-me-down plants, and some of them were gifted by other generous gardeners. To wit: I had a great-aunt, my mother’s aunt, who live…

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Hail and farewell. In a few days a new year will emerge on the scene, one that has never been seen before. A day before that, it will be farewell for 2021, a year that will never be seen again. Tempus fugit. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Here we are, just one day into winter and after the winter solstice, marking the shortest day of the year, and already there is talk of the “dead of winter.” For your information winter is not dead, nor will it be even later into its annual visit.  

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A fool’s paradise, it is — now, that is. Here it is, just 10 days until Christmas and fools like me are staring into space and doing virtually nothing about it. Hey, there gifts to be bought and decorations to be taken care of, and the boob tube and football games yet call, even on week nigh…

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Winter hereabouts is generally said to be the months of December, January and February, notwithstanding the fact the astronomical calendar does not place its onset until Dec. 21 and continues it until March 21.

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Our very own Pilgrims are given credit for inventing the first Thanksgiving here in the states, when they were simply colonies, but their Mother Country had practiced a somewhat similar holiday back there in England before that. 

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It has been a while since I have done a dirty column, 1984, believe it or not. Wait, I misspoke that. The column was on dirt, but, heck, that is about as dirty as you can get. It was during the initial year of succeeding my grandmother as your author. Let us move on, before I engender any mo…

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Here we are, just three days before All Hallows Eve, and almost the end of October. Back at the first of the month, I had some comments here on the “golden month.” Since the most famous writer in the English language, William Shakespeare, never mentioned October, I will modestly propose to m…

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My innate modesty prevents me from saying much about myself, but I can’t resist one egotistical remark that comes not from me but from a number of garden visitors. I have been complimented more than once on my skill in pruning.

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The “fall of the year,” they call it. Leaves fall, many flowering plants fall, skies fall and daylight falls. I prefer the nomenclature “autumn,” which has a more pleasant resonance. 

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October has been called “the golden month,” and for good reason. When I was outdoors editor here, I always had a column on the benefits of October, with its harvest of early wild game seasons and looking forward to ducks and quail to follow. Then, of course, there was the excellent fall fish…

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The Paris Pessimist Club met in regular session a couple of weeks ago with the full membership present and answering roll call. The main order of business was handling pests in our local gardens. One member said the title of the meeting should be “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” Voting…

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Happy Yom Kippur to all today, particularly my Jewish friends. Then too, happy autumnal equinox, next week, to all my friends, Jewish and gentile. 

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Staking, I believe it was. Last week, that is, when we talked something of the onerous task that staking of plants in the garden requires. It is not the physical labor, nor a problem of brain power. Any ordinary person can learn to tie a half-hitch, square knot or even a granny knot when the…

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A marked difference between ordinary ornamental gardens and more notable ones often consists of pleasing plant combinations or the absence thereof. A thought-out combination of rather plebeian plants can come to the fore when used with some thought in their placement. 

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The old dog star, Sirius, creeps back into his doghouse today, officially calling an end to the 40 days since July 3 that are known as dog days in honor of the rising and setting of said dog star. I don’t want to wish my life away, but good riddance. The dog days doldrums in our part of the …

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We said last week, with hope springing eternal, that we might — might — see the turn to fall this month. In some few miracle years it actually does. I can remember going through the early dove hunting season a few — very few — times hardly working up a sweat through the month of September. O…

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Inevitably, every year without fail, there comes a period between cold winter and hot summer, popularly known as spring. It is when fresh new buds flash out on trees, and your garden is unsullied by any semblance of decay and letdown. 

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If there is anyone out there who reads this column, you know it is nothing new for me to dwell on the valuable garden color, bright yellow, and when tinged with green, chartreuse. 

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It is hard to believe the year is more than half over. The sun reached its zenith two days ago and is now sinking, imperceptibly at first, toward its nadir a few days before Christmas. Astronomical summer is here at last and just at the time we are hungry for a colorful explosion in our gardens. 

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Here we are just days from the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, and it is as good a time as any to go over again —  Watering 101.

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As much as I love perennials, I have to admit that for long-term color, annuals have them beat. With annuals, you miss a constantly changing repertoire but the compensation — if it is one — is the more or less endless blare of color the season through. 

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My boyhood — and still — friend Crockett Mathis and I were budding lepidopterists back in the day. After grueling hours of “study” at Atkins-Porter School, we would head north to his home on North Highland Street, tank up on chocolate eclairs or apple pie his mother had crafted, grab our net…

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The merry month of May was my mother’s favorite month. And who isn’t floored by the pleasure this month provides? Perennials are churning steadily into production; annuals, even, are heating up; and  some flowering shrubs and trees are still worth looking at. And, the weather, for the most p…

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We are ensconced deeply now into the month of April, which features April Fool’s Day, Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, and the same month the British often call “the cruelest month.” And for good reason some years. April can be soft as a baby’s behind or, on occasion, vicious as a wolf’s howl. W…

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Our ongoing list of rather underused shrubs and trees has created some discussion and questions on where to get some of them. It takes some searching, I will admit, but sometimes they can be found right under your nose at local garden centers and discount stores. 

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A lot can be said for old tried and true varieties of plants, but I’m not going to say those things today. We will follow up last week’s endeavor on somewhat new and sometimes improved varieties of shrubs and trees that more than pay their rent over a year’s time in your garden. 

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In the 53-plus years of this column’s existence, very few of them have been book reviews. Some outstanding garden books by authors, domestic and abroad, have made the short list. 

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This week, a practical — as opposed to, say, philosophical — rendering. In other words, a how-to reminder of the things you should be doing in your ornamental gardens here in the middle of March. If you escaped the Ides of March two days ago and if  you are not already swamped with spring wo…

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Here we are ensconced into the month of March, known for St. Patrick and Julius Caesar, the late. His assassination occurred on the 15th of that month in 44 B.C. The Romans also set March 15, the Ides date, as a day for people who owed debts to pay them off. I don’t know what the penalty was…

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It is seldom that these words concern, to much degree, the weather. However, if the first week of March, with its ides coming up soon, is not a good time to do so, there never will be one. 

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The Paris Pessimist Club met last week for the February meeting. First on the agenda was a discussion on whether all dark clouds have a silver lining. Or, to put it more realistically, whether all silver linings have a dark cloud. 

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Just inside a new year and we’ve already used our space budget on the horrors of tree topping, so let sleeping dogs lie for the moment. For now, we will take up another horror — horned rats, otherwise known as whitetail deer. Yes, many of my friends and family are ardent deer hunters, and, y…

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Gertrude Jekyll has, no doubt, been mentioned in these garden columns numerous times since the very first one was initiated on Friday, Sept. 6, 1968, by my grandmother, Lucy Cowan Williams. After I took the reins Sept. 7, 1984, the mention might have become more frequent, particularly after …

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You must admit I have laid off talking about the evils of tree topping for quite a long time. Some new readers might have come on to the gardening scene in the meantime, so this is for them, and for others who might have missed my earlier rants on the subject.

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