The Essential Earthman by Henry Clay Mitchell

As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:

Copy of Grow That #Garden Library (3)

The Essential Earthman by Henry Clay Mitchell
Mitchell was a garden columnist for the Washington Post, and this book was the sharing of the many posts featured in his column.
As a writer, Mitchell was down-to-earth and funny. As a gardener, Mitchell was down-to-earth and funny. This is why, for me, his book is a personal favorite.
Here is an excerpt regarding his suggested New Year’s Resolutions for gardeners:
“The days are now at their shortest, and the gardener should keep it in mind that his ill humor and (as it may be) gloominess is directly linked to this nadir of the year. All that is necessary is to hold on until spring or a few sunny days, which will surely come in January, February, March, April, or May at the latest. Meanwhile, several activities will help the gardener keep cheerful.

  • Whenever it snows, go out with a broom and swat all conifers likely to be broken down by snow.
  • Whenever there are ice storms, pull the window shades down.
  • When Christmas gift plants… stop blooming, either give them conditions they require or else throw them out. There is no point making yourself miserable by watching a Poinsettia, Cyclamen, or Azalea died over a period of 3 months.
  • Force yourself, for once, to order the varieties of annuals you want from a seedsman in January, so you will not find yourself in a snit in March.
  • Decide those old gardeners are correct, who have been saying for the past few hundred years, that nothing is lovelier or more cheerful in Winter than common ivy, common holly, and common yew. And, you might add, junipers.
  • Put a couple of logs in Lily pools to absorb or deflect some of the pressure of the ice. Do not chop holes in the ice. Fish do not need air holes.
  • If it ever gets warmish again, admire the swelling buds of Elm, Ash, Azalea, flowering Quince. Make up your mind once and for all whether you will give space to a Pussy Willow Bush. Whichever you decide, decide, and stop being of two minds about it.
  • Thank God you do not have to stay in the garden all winter like a blasted Snowdrop ( which should, incidentally, be showing some signs of activity within the year’s first month). Gardeners, on the other hand, will stir about April 8th.

You can get a used copy of Mitchell's book and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $3.


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