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

Jimmy Williams

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. 

Thanksgiving evolved from one date to another in the next 300 years, until it was finally settled in by Abraham Lincoln, on the fourth Thursday in November. That’s this week. The date has been tossed around with various presidential administrations, in the last century and this. Anyhow, for now, it is this week. 

Thanksgiving is different from thanks giving, but at the same time it is the same. Huh? Well, giving thanks, that is, thanks giving, for all the blessings we enjoy, should be a daily — or nightly — practice. We should give thanks continuously, as the Apostle Paul admonished, in whatever situation we find ourselves. End of sermon. 

What do we as gardeners have to be thankful for? Not, mostly, for our soil for crying out loud. If you are not happy with brickmaking clay, move to Illinois or Iowa. If you want to live here, despite the labor involved in producing a tomato or a marigold, then get at it. You’ve seen the directions for making our “soil” arable and, with a couple of years of hard labor yours can be that.  

So, then you can be thankful for your soil and the extra pounds you lost, along with muscle tone you gained in improving it. 

Now then, what else are we gardeners thankful for this Year of Our Lord 2021?

As for me, I am thankful for my “heavy duty digger trowel,” as I have mentioned before. These stainless steel hand trowels are made from one piece of metal molded into shape apparently with a machine, then gussied up with a tough, red plastic handle. If one never misses the water until the well goes dry, then one also misses this trowel until after not one, but two, are lost somewhere into the netherworld or under leaves, or behind some other solid object that defies penetrating eyes. 

I have — had — two of them, both more than 20 years old, that have come up missing during the past few weeks, just at the time crocus bulbs and pansies were begging to be put into the earth. I got a new one from one of the few suppliers I know of, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, along with my fall order of crocuses and species tulips, both of which are grown from small bulbs that the trowel fits perfectly. In the event, it seems like losing things goes with the territory at some advanced age. 

Where was I? Yes, losing. Last year, it was hand pruners, and again two pairs of them left earth somehow. I thought I knew exactly where I had used them last, but no amount of diligent search by me and My Assistant proved fruitless. These were both of the much heralded Felco brand, said to be the Cadillac of pruners. Again, at any rate, I found one of the pairs a couple of weeks later, tucked up under a large rock where, apparently, it had landed after it fell from my back pocket. 

The other one showed up some six months later exactly where we had searched earlier, but under a big batch of new fallen leaves. 

It was thoroughly rusted from head to tail, but some fine steel wool and elbow grease put it back in order. 

The pruners, incidentally, cost some $25 about 30 years ago, and had cut probably 10 miles of branches since, not to speak of small wire and binding cord. Now, post presidential change and other factors, they have jumped to some $60. In a few years the $6 increase in our Social — there’s that word — Security check will cover the cost of a new pair, just in time to see them put me into the box. 


From Poor Willie’s Almanack — Pray for our nation. And don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full of roast turkey.


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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