Monday, May 18, 2009

547 Mr. Blackthumb

547 Mr. Blackthumb

Mr. Blackthumb here, not to be confused with Mister Blackwell or Mr. T.  

Thumb's a guy who can destroy a plant by taking care of it.  If it needs much water, he gives it too little.  If it needs little water, he over-waters it.  Plant food?  Forget it.  You're in the Army now, Sunflower.  You'll make due with what surrounds you!

This goes back a lot of years.  The only Long Islander who couldn't grow a potato, even though potatoes need almost no care, grow in any kind of soil, in any weather conditions at any time of year and are indigenous to Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

But sometimes, time changes things.  Mr. Blackthumb has grown close to his hydrangea.  Not to the point of naming it, but close nevertheless.

It came in a pot and in winter. It stayed in the pot and blossomed.  When the weather warmed, it was lovingly transplanted to the Great Outdoors, where its leaves promptly turned red.

The Hydrangea Maven at the Garden Center pronounced it dead.  "Once those leaves turn red," she said, you might as well pull the thing out of the ground and throw it out.  You left it inside too long."

Mr. Blackthumb stares death in the eye and says "No!"  He trims back the red leaves and leaves the stems.  He feeds, he waters, he talks to it which disturbs the neighbors and makes them wonder about his sanity.  But slowly, new buds show up and eventually bloom.  The hydrangea is resurrected, back from the dead, Hallelujah!

Then comes winter and once again the stems are bare.  Now, he wonders, is it hibernating or is it really dead for good this time?

The latter.

One day in mid-may, little leaves started growing from the bare stems.  And if there are leaves, can flowers be far behind?

This remains to be seen, of course.  But the morning line bet on this one is "flowers will follow the leaves."

There's peer pressure for this.  The woods behind the house have turned from bare limbs to full screen green and done so in what seems like an instant.

Maybe Mr. Blackthumb should think about changing his name to Mr. Greythumb.  Either that, or he has to put more distance between himself and his flowers.


--A horse named Rachel, a filly,  busts the Preakness boys club for the first time in 85 years.  This wasn't the only unusual feature of the race.  What's REALLY unusual is that the favorite won.

--Obituary:  The Tucson Citizen has died at the age of 138.  An afternoon paper, at that.  Truly a rare bird -- probably a buzzard, given its home city.

--Here's a website for musicians who've grown lazy or want to up their game. And just because it's proprietor is a close relative has nothing whatsoever to do with the choice (how's that for political reasoning?)

I'm Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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