True blue, rare in flowers, is easily obtainable in bog sage

Jimmy Williams

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. 

It was overwhelmingly the position of the membership that all silver linings do indeed have a dark cloud and not vice versa. It was pointed out by one of the senior members that if the club were to be more than a Pessimist Club in name only, then obviously the membership in large degree should appear as true pessimists, not just pessimists in name only, or PINOs.

The follow-up to this thesis, the members were reminded, is that, it being February, the most hated of months, then now is the optimum time to come to such a conclusion, when all around us there is a plethora of gardeners wistfully looking at the calendar and trying to assure themselves that things in the gardening world are undoubtedly looking up for the coming summer. After all, we are just emerging from a horrendous winter storm that left death and destruction in its wake. When, oh when, can we start to dig?

Members agreed that if we could take what is undoubtedly an unpopular stand, and later be  proven right, then the club’ s new membership effort would be enhanced after a year or more of apparently fruitless effort in drafting new members. 

Two  of the members pointed out that summer in this part of the world is nothing like the one extolled by the Englishman who opined “Summer day … the most beautiful words in the English language.” Well, where he was it might be true, but where we are we will often sweat out 100 degrees, ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes and on ad nauseum, all of which conspire to make us as miserable as can be. 

But then, even an American, a PhD from Oregon, I believe, said something similar. His take said a perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken. This is not Oregon, though there are plenty of broken lawn mowers around.

Following regular business, the meeting adjourned, with both members voting yea, with a reminder that we should all be more conscientious about recruiting new members. 



Seriously though, we must be somewhat realistic, aka pessimistic, about the coming summer. 

It is a fact, not just the pessimists’ opinion, that summer in this latitude and longitude brings, almost always, frightful broiling days that interfere monstrously with your best ambitions toward ordinary gardening, not to speak of such an onus as cutting up a beastly tree that Mom Nature twisted into a pile of snarly logs during a tornado of two years past that yet lies prone or, worse, hung up in another neighboring tree. 

We don’t want it to fall on us, but, again, we loath the prospect of getting out in 100-degree weather and cutting the wretched thing into firewood. 

Then too, there are the frequent droughts that beset us here in Arizona, er, I mean, Tennessee. They have come to be around more often with the advent of global warming, again aka, “climate change.” For those who don’t know it, climate change has been a regularity for some several million, or thousand, years, whichever you believe our “recent” history to be. 

Nothing has caused more damage, or even outright death, to ornamental gardens and food crops alike, than droughts in the last 30 years or so. 

I could continue this diatribe of our climate troubles, but only true pessimists want to hear it, so just remember that, despite recent heavy rains, the hoses and watering systems will come to the fore on the gardening scene before you know it. 


JIMMY WILLIAMS is the garden writer for The Post-Intelligencer, where he can be contacted on Monday mornings at 642-1162.

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