The Arrogant Lecture

When my ex and I were going through our divorce, I called him one day and left a voicemail. I was furious about something (there’s a lot to be furious about when going through a divorce) and felt very proud of my scathing, belittling, you’re-such-a-moron-who-doesn’t-understand-a-thing voicemail. My thought, when I left the voicemail, was that he was clueless and did not “get it,” and I was going to explain the situation to Mr. Clueless using a condensing tone and clever, witticisms.

Most voicemails only allow one to two minutes to leave your message before asking you if you’re satisfied with the message. The phone then gives you options, like number three is to listen to your message and re-record if you like. I had hit the time limit but was so proud of the arrogant lecture I’d delivered that I chose to listen to my

corner of house used for herbs and veggies, transplanted and still blooming, Cinthia Milner

Garden Coaching: What Is It?

I’ve got an excellent gig. I’m a garden coach for a garden center. That means I drive to folk’s homes and coach them regarding their landscapes. Before you get the idea that it’s all about the master gardeners and hobby gardeners desiring to use my services to expand their horticulture knowledge, it isn’t. I rarely have a client who wants to garden. The primary directive I receive from my patrons is, “I want a low maintenance or no maintenance yard.” Sadly, that’s a lot like wanting the body without the gym.

Primarily, I help with small designs. And, I identify what plants are what. I show them how to prune. (Horror films could be produced from people’s fear of pruning.) I help them decide what plants should be “edited.” (Political correctness crosses into the garden.) I explain that their new garden will look like a

Hiking With Platypus

Five years ago, I would have titled this column “Hiking with Big Dog.” Prior to that, it would have been “Hiking with Fruit Loops.” This gives you both a chronological history of our family dogs and an insight into our dietary preferences. But I’m also reminded of the privilege I’ve enjoyed over the last 15 years: hiking with my dogs. I do it almost every day. Rain never stops us, though extreme cold will keep us parked next to the wood stove.

Platypus, the best dog.

Fruit Loops —an Aussie with blue eyes—hiked with me during the early years of my marriage. During the middle years it was Big Dog, the Airedale who could get turned around in a pen.

Now, with my

My Picket Fence Garden

Some of my clients just want an audience. I know how they feel. When I lived at South Turkey Creek, my garden was beautiful, but it was for the benefit of one–me. We lived off an old logging road, off a secondary road that was so far out a friend of mine brought milk and bread when she visited. Our home wasn’t visible from the road, and my garden was only seen by those who drove down our driveway, and they had to get through a locked farm gate.

So, I get it when someone calls for an appointment and I drive up and think, they do not need my help, but I am getting the camera out because oh my gosh. Sometimes, it’s a legit question, or they need another eye on the garden because it feels “off”. But when my sole contribution to the hour

My Back Porch

 

B.B. Barns, my place of employment, has a container specialist. Her job is designing and installing containers for clients. Of course, everyone wants that job because it sounds so cool (it is). I’m the garden coach. I help people with their landscapes, everything from what is in it (plant identification) to how to take care of it (a lot of pruning lessons) to plant diagnostics (Japanese beetles or voles almost always) to small designs (limited to the front foundation or perennial borders mostly). I don’t help with containers. Instead, I ask our container designer for tips. She really is the best.

But once in a blue moon, a client will ask me, “What about my porch?” They mean, of course, what should I do to make my porch more inviting?

I’m not our container specialist, but I do know the number one reason a porch doesn’t