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Plant Chats

Plant Chats
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Plant Chats
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

Are you kidding?

I'm related to “green thumbed” people, but the surest way to kill a plant is to put me in custody of it.

I love hydrangeas. I am proud that my county “Tourism and History Commission” hosts a Hydrangea Festival on the first weekend of June. It is popular among hydrangea lovers in Georgia and surrounding states.

Tours of private gardens, including banks of hydrangeas and many other southern flowering plants, is the most popular feature.

There are those people who love hydrangeas, then everybody else.

The garden tours embarrass me because I don't have a garden to show off and can't seem to grow a weed.

My “problem,” says a friend who knows everything about gardens, is that I try to make plants grow in places they don't like. “You tend to stick plants in the worst possible places without giving them the soil they need to thrive.”

It's my own fault. If I were able to learn one new thing, it would be how to root plants I like.

I've tried “air layering” sassafras limbs with no luck at all. Sassafras likes to reproduce in its own way.

Last month I took a cutting from the only hydrangea plant that seems happy being here. I stuck the sprig in a jar of water and left it in indirect sunlight. In a couple of weeks some hair roots appeared. One April my mother offered a program on “Talking to Plants” to the local Garden Club. I think, knowing her sense of humor, it was a spoof, but she created a logical sounding argument for talking to her plants. One woman was upset that it was a waste of time.

If only Mom could have waited. The Royal Horticultural Society (England) has research that plants do respond to human voices. The plants growing the most “heard” the female voice and experienced a growth of an inch more than those listening to the male voice.

I recently took my mother's idea and started talking to my hydrangea sprig while the Kansas Woman was out of the room.

“Who are you talking to?” inquired the Dear

continued from page 6A

KW when I got caught.

I know better than to tell her I was talking to a jar of water, but whether it is because of chatting up a hydrangea sprig or not, the thing recently produced two tiny sets of leaves that are sprouting under water.

In her mind the idea of my talking to a hydrangea sprig is equal to her father reading “Ulysses” to a field of wheat or soybeans. Wasn't proper.

Still there are those two sets of leaves growing under water, and they were not there last week.

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