Garden Design, The Friendly Atheist, and Slowly Rotating on a Spit

April 29th, 2011

As soon as I make up my mind to go back to school, I begin to change my mind to not go back to school.  I feel like I am slowly rotating on a spit.  It is easier to decide to go back to school when my job at the garden center is slow.  I get tired of dusting shelves and moving displays from one side of the store to the other and then moving them back to the original location the next day because there is nothing else to do.  But right now, we are super busy and my job is crazy and fun and I really enjoy it.  I get to play with flowers all day and help people pick out shrubs and trees and answer questions about tomato diseases and pre-emergents.  Why would I ever want to do anything else?

These past four years I have learned gardening through osmosis.  Just by being around co-workers who have true botanical knowledge, listening to them talk to customers about hundreds of different plant issues, I have truly gained an almost respectable know-how about the plant kingdom in Kansas.   These days when customers come up to me and ask me questions I frequently hear myself giving confident answers like I actually know what I am talking about.  I almost feel like I am channeling a real garden person.  How do I know that dogwoods are an understory tree?  Where did I learn that malathion kills bag worms?  How is it that these words about determinant growth habits of various tomato plants are springing from my lips?  And what’s even weirder is that the customers seem to BELIEVE what I tell them!

The other day a guy came in and asked me if he needed to worry about the acidic content of his soil.  He was taking out a row of pine trees and putting in a row of crab-apples.  Pine trees tend to acidify soil and he wondered if this would adversely affect his new crab-apples.

Me – Uh… I don’t think it will be a problem.  I mean.. I suppose it could be really out of whack after years of pine trees – but I kind of doubt it will hurt the new trees.

Customer – Should I amend the soil?  Put in some organic material or something?

Me – No… you probably don’t want to do that.  You want your tree roots to go in search of nutrients.  If they get too comfortable with the soil right around the roots, they just grow in a circle and that isn’t a good thing for trees.

Customer – Oh.  Okay.

And then as far as I know, he went right out and planted his crab-apples just the way I told him too.

But later, I got a little freaked out about my answer.  I wasn’t worried about my answer regarding amending the soil for a new tree, but I was nervous about the acidic content of soil that formerly held pine trees.  So I asked my boss about it and she said the exact same thing that I said.





I learned through the immersion method.

I think that is always a good way to learn anything.

Speaking of gardening!

We have doubled the size of our garden this year.  We added a new section to the east of the first section.  It follows the same pattern except we turned it on it’s side.  I wish I could draw you a picture.  I wonder if I could sketch it out by using the symbols on my keyboard…










I will try and get some photos up to show you what we are doing, but until then just imagine two, large squarish capital ‘C’s’ in your mind.  One turned towards the house and one turned towards the pond.  And then in the middle of these two capital ‘C’s’ is a small garden shed/green house which I think we are going to try and build this summer. Because the Country Doctor loves to build things and since the kitchen table is my current garden shed, he is more than amenable to the idea.


Hey!  Guess what!

Hemant Mehta is coming to Manhattan Kansas!

Do you know Hemant?

He is the Friendly Atheist!

His blog was one of the first atheist blogs I ever read!

I remember freaking out about the title of his blog when I first found it during one of my frantic late night google searches when I was out looking for the others… the others who might also doubt the existence of a supernatural being.

Hemant’s blog was one of the first to pop up and I was intrigued by the title.

The Friendly Atheist?  WHAT THE ????  How is that possible?  How can an atheist bill themselves as friendly?  I can see billing themselves as vile or maybe… full of Satan’s spew… or maybe The Bitter Atheist… or The Antagonistic and Supremely Arrogant Atheist… or maybe The Black Hearted Blaggard with a Large Sucking Hole Where His Heart Used to Be Atheist… or maybe…

I think you get the idea.

But then I realized that I might be an atheist too and wait a minute… I could on rare occasions, even be friendly myself!

Holy Hell!

Anyway – I still follow Hemant’s blog and I am going to go hear him talk tomorrow.

Is there anything else to say to you people?

Has anyone got plans to watch the royal wedding?

I will be staying up late tonite to work on a special project that will hopefully launch on MONDAY and I am very excited about it. I don’t know if I will still be up at 3:00 AM when the wedding is scheduled to show in my part of the world, but if I am, I may watch a bit.

Happy Almost Friday!



  • I love the Friendly Atheist! I think it’s one of the most informative and thought-provoking atheist blogs out there. :-) Lucky for you if you get to go see him!

    I think it’s okay to feel unsure about school. The beauty is you can lighten your class load during the busy time at the garden center, and bust butt during the winter! I can’t blame you for not wanting to give up your work there.

    It’s a funny feeling to to speak authoritatively when somebody asks a question. It happens a lot at the library. I’m shocked how often I fall back on personal knowledge when I’m answering our patron’s questions… where did I learn all of that stuff? How did I dredge it out of my memory?

  • Jennine:

    As my 12 year old daughter was getting ready for bed, I announced that she was staying home from school and that I’d be waking her at 4 AM to watch the ROYAL WEDDING.

    She actually squealed with joy.

    My mother did the same thing for me when Charles and Diana married. I was 11 years old and still smile when I think about how exciting it was.

    Not so much at age 40, but this is about making memories.

    Rechelle? Sounds to me like you’re blooming where you’ve been planted. :)

    • LucyJoy:

      What an awesome memory you’re creating for your daughter, Jennine! I’ll bet the two of you had a blast!

  • susan:

    graduate school is necessary when the objective is clear and necessary. With 4 kids – who as they get older require more active channeling from parents of their time into positive activities requires so much. You would give up a lot of free time in what you are not positive will be beneficial in the long run. Already it is obvious that you are a creative writer, so how would this help? yes I know you would meet people, learn new things, but graduate school is arduous and often the family and activities are put on the back burner. just a thought…………..

  • Sabazinus:

    Go to graduate school. It’s a far more in-depth learning opportunity than undergraduate work and you have far more control over what you want to study. I’ve done graduate work in English (Victorian period) and special education. Both provided useful skills and interesting reading.

    I’ve also worked in Horticulture and I’ve been out of the field for about 10 years now. I miss it terribly, so hope to eventually turn my experience with teaching and my knowledge of horticulture into an interesting job.

  • Spiderjohn:

    Speaking of building things…. did the CD finish his bar in the basement?

    • Rechelle:

      He’s closing in on it.