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Reflections on gardening



  The weather is cool, the greens are planted, the late beans are maturing and all is well in the garden.  Except that the collard, cabbage and broccoli plants that I planted last week were eaten gingerly by the peacocks, all is well in the garden.  Now netting is up about 8 feet above the garden fence to protect it from the marauding peafowl.  Sort of reminds me of closing the barn door after the cows are out.  I will just wait and see if the stubs recover - if not - I will buy some more plants.

  The moisture in the ground and the promise of more frequent rains makes this the perfect time for fescue and rye grass planting.  It also is a good time to begin to plant some shrubs and even trees in places that you have been planning to revitalize. I love fall gardening activities - it is so pleasant to work in the yard and garden when it is cool. 

  I am also pruning the long shoots off my wisteria and hoping that this is the last time before they fill with blossoms in the spring. Hope the kudzu bugs have left for a warmer place; they are real pests.

  The past week has been full of activity in the greenhouse.  Getting a greenhouse ready for the winter involves scrubbing it down to remove any insects and diseases that would linger and cause problems for the remaining plants and those seedlings that I will grow in the late winter. Talstar for insects and Zerotol for diseases are my main weapons to disinfect the large area.

  They are quite efficient for plant protection. Of course, sweeping and mopping are a large part of the job also.

  I wanted to mention a few special plants this week, but that will have to wait until next time.  Instead, I would like to mention the passing of a well-known horticulturist and a special friend and mentor of mine:  Mr. Don Hastings, Jr. 

  Years ago, I received a call from Don asking me to join him as his co-host on a radio show.  I had listened to Don for years and we had been on a couple of local television and radio shows together.  It was quite an honor for me to be asked by such a gardening authority to work with him.  Little did I know that he was planning to leave the country for a few months to farm throughout the Mideast and other world adventures.  He taught me so much about radio, gardening, and helping folks.  He introduced me to Ludlow Porch, who became a lifelong friend and also taught me how to “do radio”. 

  Don and I were on WCNN for a few years and did some syndicated TV shows together.  What a fun, exciting time!  Don went on to garden throughout the world while I went on to WSB and then to WQXI and WGUN.  Never did I have so much fun doing what Don and Ludlow had taught me - enjoying gardening and my listeners.  Don’s father was a part of my WSB program and Don would occasionally be on my WQXI program.   The entire Hastings family was entrenched in gardening and people.  They all helped me so much in my career.

  I find it hard to accept his leaving this life and yet, I somehow feel that Heaven will be a more fertile ground and place of beauty with all those Hastings creating gardens everywhere.  Don lived life well, left a gardening legacy, produced two boys that have bettered the world community, and taught us all that gardening was not a hobby; it is a way to enjoy life - a lifelong learning experience.  I would say, Rest in Peace, dear friend, but Don is not one to rest when there is a garden to be tended.



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