Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ask Doctor Flora

It's ten in the morning and I turn on the radio just in time to hear my favorite a.m. talk personality, Doctor Flora, the dispenser of self-righteous scolding on the everyday ethical issues of home gardening. Let's join today's program.

Doctor Flora: "Hi everyone, this is Doctor Flora. Let's go right to our first caller."

Caller: "Hi Dr. Flora. This is Darrell. I'm a first time caller and I'm a little nervous."
D.F.: "Deal with it! What's your problem?"

Caller: "Okay. Well see the other day my girlfriend and me, we was working in my garden - you know breaking up the soil and chopping out the weeds when my new neighbor wandered into the yard and said "That's a mighty nice hoe you have there."
And I told him, "You know that's not the only hoe I have. I keep my tools in the old barn and I've got a whole stable of them. But you're right. This is by far my numero primo hoe." So he says, "Well maybe some day I could, you know, borrow your hoe - just for a while - I mean I'd even pay you. I mean I agree - that is one fine hoe."
So I said, "Sure man. Anytime". Then, after he left. my girlfriend got real mad at me and said I should maybe let him have one of my other hoes. But certainly not my favorite one. But to me, you know, a hoe's a hoe.
Now from what I've seen and heard Dr. Flora, you really know how to hoe. So what should I do?"
D.F. "What! Where did you hear that? You didn't see that video, did you? No, of course not. I'm sure I've got all the copies now. Anyway,you are absolutely right. I do know everything there is to know about hoeing - not from personal experience of course, it's all from my academic studies. First I just want to say that you guys are just disgusting - passing your hoes around like that . Look, if you want to keep your hoe - you should never let it go.
Now I've got to make a few quick phone calls about, uh, some videos - so we'll go to commercial break and then be right back with our next caller."

Caller: Hello Dr. Flora. This is Jessica. And I'm so upset. This is such a personal intimate private matter that I thought I should go directly on nationwide radio and blab it to the entire world...so here goes.
I've been married for about two years now. When we first got married Todd, that's my husband, just worshiped me. He spent every second of his time and every ounce of his energy just doing things for me. Whatever I wanted, I got. And he couldn't keep his hands off me. Then he began to garden. At first it was just some annual flowers that he gave to me, but then it became vegetables and now, worst of all, perennials. He spends every minute that he's not at his job out working in the damn yard.
And now he's joined a men's garden club."
(Jessica begins to sob uncontrollably.

D.F. "Jessica - get a grip! No listen carefully. It's over Jessica, o-v-e-r, over! Pack up and leave. Maybe you had a chance against a few flowers or vegetables. But perennials. And now a men's garden club.
Have you seen any of the other members of the club? The glazed demonic blank stare in their eyes. The way they can't pass by a bush without breaking off at least one branch. The strange multipurpose tools they carry on their belts. Their constant blathering about PH levels and compost and whether salmon roe is a good fertilizer. Good God - I mean they are the poster child for hopeless.
Buy my latest book - "How to Survive Marriage to a Gardener - NOT!!" - then run, do not walk, to the nearest exit . Good luck Jessica. Next caller."

Caller: "Hello Dr. Flora. This is Reggie. I planted a persimmon tree in the spring in a very sunny location. The tree had some flowers that bloomed and were turning into small fruits. Two days after fertilizing the tree with a 10-5-8 fertilizer, all the flowers fell off. I did some research and read that too much nitrogen would cause this to happen.
However, according to the manufacturer, the fertilizer contained only 10 percent nitrogen. I also read that young trees tend to drop their flowers if they can't handle the stress of bearing fruits. So, was it the fertilizer or the tree itself? Will I get to eat persimmons at least next year?"
D.F. "What the hell kind of garden question is that? What do you think this is, National Public Radio? Next caller!!"

Caller: "Hi Dr. Flora. This is Jane and I've got a problem with an old impatiens plant from which I collect seeds to plant around my house every year. You know that these flowers got their name because they spray their ovules at the slightest touch. Well, when mine was young all I had to do was barely brush it and hundreds of seeds would just shoot into the air like an out-of-control sneeze. Now I'm lucky if I can get one or two seeds to even drop and the plant is starting to droop badly. Dr. Flora, what can I do?
I'll hang up now and listen to you publicly humiliate me on the radio. I'm afraid that your histrionic screaming might damage my eardrums if I stay on the phone."
D.F. "Jane you ignorant slut! You are disgusting! Actually, you're not really. I just love to say that.
Jane, your plant is suffering from what we in the business call Projectile Disfunction or PD. There are some medications that you can try, Niagara and Go-Ask-Alice, but the side effects can be pretty nasty - dry-mouth, wet-mouth, Existential Ennui, Leprosy, Tourette's Syndrome and believing that O.J. is innocent - and that's just what could happen to you. As for what could happen to the plant, I just have two words - King Kong.
Dump it, and do what real horticulturists do when they need seeds - just buy them.

That's all we have time for today.
This is Dr. Flora - I am my kid's mum. Our thought for today comes from humorist Dorothy Parker who said, "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."
And remember, if you're on the Internet, and you think you see me in a tape - don't be fooled. It's really a Paris Hilton video with my face somehow digitally added. Yep, that's what it is. But you won't. Because I'm sure that I've got all the copies. And besides, I'm not worried - after all, I am Doctor Flora! Bye bye."

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