Marja-Leena Rathje
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Gardener's Night Before Xmas


I have mixed feelings about the return of rains
after two lovely weeks of frost and even a bit of snow,
but this made me smile...

A "garden version" of The Night Before Christmas:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the yard,
Not a vegetable was growing, not even Swiss chard.
The hoses were stored in the cellar with care
And I, rest assured, knew they wouldn't freeze there.
The perennials were mulched, all snug in their beds
While visions of springtime danced in their heads.
The new planted shrubs had been soaked by the hose
To settle their roots for the long, winter's doze.
And out on the lawn, the new fallen snow
Protected the roots of the grasses below.
When out in the drive there arose such a clatter,
I ran with my hoe to see what was the matter.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a truck full of useful gardening gear.
Saint Nick, the driver, so plump and so jolly
Jumped out of his truck with a sack full of holly.
I've brought trimmers and clippers and tubers and seeds
And landscape fabric to eliminate weeds;
Well-aged manure, strained finely for spreading,
Just what you need for your annual flower bedding;
And colorful flagstones for a new garden path;
And for birds and bird watchers, a feeder and bath.
I've an insect pest guide to help you to know
Which of the bugs will cause plants to grow slow;
A new sprayer to fill with safe soap and oil;
A floating row cover - there are insects to foil!
For gardening with ease, I've a new rototiller,
Pads for your knees and organic bug killer.
For pH detecting, here's a soil-testing kit
For soil preparation that's sure to be a hit;
A new mulching mower for grass blade clipping,
And a long soaker hose that saves water by dripping.
With jolly Saint Nick's gift-giving complete,
He started his truck and took off down the street.
And I heard him exclaim through the motor's loud hum,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a green thumb!"

Found here.
Poem courtesy of the Ohio State Extension Service. According to them, the poem was written by Jack Kerrigan, an Ohio horticulture educator, and is an organic gardening version of a poem written by Charles and Janice Jensen and published originally in The New York Times in the 1950's

Marja-Leena | 15/12/2009 | 8 comments
themes: Neat stuff


Ah, Marja-Leena, is this your own Christmas cactus? And blooming now?

I have one just like that except it's almost white with pink edges to the petals. The plant itself is at least 30 yrs old, and has been setting sulkingly in the corner upstairs ever since I moved him/her to a coerner where it would have light from window in summers and room to stretch out it's almost woody hands.

But last Easter it took and produced two (2) flowers. Now the plant has gotten clearly mad: there was at least 20 flowers already and more coming.

Even though this triple pedal cactus is very aristocratic compared to the old ones, bright red and with one set of flower pedals, it gives the light much needed in the middle of kaamos.

But I do remember my grandmother's Christmas cactus, that was setting on the end of kurkihirsi (what would that be in English?) next to the big oil lamp. I would've been 4-5 years old and the village didn't have no electricity yet. They came in 1953. The cactus was in bloom EVERY Christmas, and I don't know how she did it.

What a lovely Christmas cactus! Mine are in full bloom, too... what a cheerful dash of colour in the middle of winter.

this is a very sweet poem for anyone who gardens! thx for sharing.

Hei Ripsa! Yes, this is mine. It's past its best already sadly, as is my very pale pink one for I think they are both Thanksgiving(US) cacti. These are fairly new plants I bought just a few years ago when I decided to give up on some very old woody ones that were not doing well at all, including one of my mothers. Even cuttings of them would not work for me. So I know of those ancient old ones that always bloomed faithfully but I was not blessed with them, or my 'green thumb' isn't green enough.

Susan, yes, I love having that dash of colour, and these are much more interesting than the poinsettia which seems out of place quickly after the holidays.

Taina, glad you enjoyed it! My only criticism is that Santa should be on his sleigh, not a truck - not too 'green', I'd say :-)

Thanks for the lovely photo and the poem, which I've never seen and have sent on to several gardening friends!

Beth, I'm glad you enjoyed it and you're sharing it! I think every gardener will get a chuckle out of it.

I'm waiting for the Christmas Amaryllis to bloom.
I think that I will enjoy READING about gardening for the next few months . . . as opposed to the gardening itself! Funny poem; but I don't think my garden has been put to bed nearly so thoroughly.

Bee, is your amaryllis a new one? I can never get my old ones to rebloom in time for Christmas if at all. I have paperwhite narcissi almost ready to burst open, keeping them cool to delay until Christmas. As for our garden itself, a lot of work did not get done because November was exceptionally rainy, followed by heavy frost in the first half of December! Guess I'm only a fair weather gardener.