Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

The fairy gardener: being eccentric
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jim Edminster
2012-09-04

This article shared 2905 times since Tue Sep 4, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Being something of an eccentric gardener occasionally brings one up short. Filling my yard with blue painted discarded toy horses turns into My Little Ponyville after awhile—not exactly the image an upper-middle-aged bear like me wants to project. Serendipity stepped in to fix this problem. Trotting off to Market Days—the giant gayish Chicago street fair in my neighborhood—several weeks ago, I passed a frothing-at-the-mouth landlord screaming, "Hasn't paid his rent in five months. Hasn't lived here in three months. I'm throwing out all his stuff. Take anything you want!"

I indicated I wasn't interested in secondhand clothes or even (expensive) stereo equipment. But as my mother used to say when startled, "Judah's Priest! What's that?" "That" was a three-and-a-half-foot tall statue of a sasquatch? Yeti? Apeman? Quite fierce and striding vigorously toward one with a hostile look on its face, subsequently found to be a character from the remake of Planet of the Apes, I swooped him up, took him home and placed him coming around a bend, emerging from the phlox. I'm telling you I get a little frison of unease every time I pass him and I KNOW he's there. A friend's bulldog spotted him and wouldn't stop barking hysterically. I toyed with naming him Stevie (Sasquatch) or Yancy (Yeti) but after a moment's reflection (I can do that, you know), I realized I was approaching the gooey suburbs of My Little Ponyville again and he's just going to remain the thing ... in the ... garden.

I had a wonderful time at the Chicago Fairy Gardeners' last meeting, being social and all that, but a plant maven like me really wants to pick the brains of people like Steve Meyer, who helps run both the Garfield Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. He had major gardening news: impatiens, the ubiquitous bedding plants, have been hit with what appears to be a so-far incurable fungus/mildew and folks may have to re-think their bedding plans for next year. Meyer's "folks" are thinking along the lines of using colored leaved coleus instead.

Meyer also identified my mystery plant that I've grown for five years and given away several times; however, I didn't know its name. I'd taken pics of the critter and they were stored on my camera. Meyer knew it immediately as petasites, AKA giant butterburr, and even showed me some in our host's yard. (It's a large roundish-leaved low-growing shade plant.)

Our hosts—Warren Jones and his partner, Bob Egan—live in Sauganash, a suburban-like enclave surrounded by the forest preserves on Chicago's Northwest Side. They have to deal with large plant eaters—deer—unlike the rest of us who deal with rats and rabbits. One way to deal with deer is to plant unpalatable plants. Jones has put in a long handsome edging bed of spotted pulmonaria (lungwort) that has an irritating covering of hair; he carried a bunch to plant while bare-chested and got a severe rash. They've had to curtail their hosta collection, a Bambi brunch item, but the deer seem to leave the giant pots of canna alone (striped yellow and green leaves with orange flowers = Pretoria; leaves split between red and green sections with equally split yellow and red flowers = Cleopatra).

There was a relatively untouched variety of butterfly bush with pale purple bell flowers, rather like wisteria (= Lindley's Buddleia); in a fountain there was a floating fern, Azolla, a duckweed relative from the Southern United States. There was a pot of true red coleus, Red Head. A good-sized patch of a strange arum (think Jack-in-the-pulpit), pinellia, caught my eye—the flower looks like a long-tailed mouse is fleeing down it. A pot of three-foot-tall balsams of various colors was blooming covered with grape-sized seed pods looking like miniture kiwis. Lastly, there was a charming red-flowered tropical plant with large pale green and violet leaves. (I've probably misspelled it: episcia).

How's the rat situation by you? The mild winter meant many litters survived to wreak havoc in gardens. Their source is restaurants with inadequate waste disposal and/or demolished buildings. The city's rodent patrols are on overtime but a problem is that there is confusion about the patrols coming onto private property. Rats have an architectural bent: They want to build homes. If you have them in yards, you will see piles of dirt they've excavated. (Conversely, if all you see is ruined hostas or the like but no holes it's more likely you have rabbits. Rats don't care much for plain leaves.) Do not put meat anything in compost heap; as for food scraps like potatoes or tomatoes, you can still add them to your compost if you throw them in a blender and make a watered-down slurry to pour over your dead leaves. Oh, and rats will live in a dry compost so water it.

NPR has done a few Anglo-Saxon style riddles for its listeners lately. They're longer allusion-filled poems often describing a common object. They may use "kennings," Anglo-Saxon metaphorical comparisons such as "whale-road" for ocean or "swan's-way" for sky. Those Old English poets were quite raunchy but here's a medium hard non-sexy one for you all:

Gardeners know me - I'm common as clay;

My kenning name is the eye of the day.

Little kids give me to their mamas, et. al.

Disney used me for an aquatic gal.

Lovers disfigure me to make up their mind;

Banqueters may see me in places they dine.

If you're what is called a grammar obsessive,

What you need to do is put my name in possessive.

At that point in time

You'll have answered this rhyme.

I'm glad my next-door neighbors have a sense of humor. I got a tour of their house when they invited me to dinner. Their third-floor bedroom has large windows looking east but only one tiny one looking south to my house. The window perfectly frames a view of the back end of a blue horse I hung off my balcony.

And finally, I saw something picturesque on my upper deck: the blue handle of a broom encircled by a blooming pink morning glory. (Shows how often I use the broom.) When Phyllis Diller died recently, the New York Times put her obit on the front page along with a large selection of her jokes. This scene on my deck could have illustrated one of her zingers: "Housework won't kill you, but why take chances?"


This article shared 2905 times since Tue Sep 4, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for 2021-22 season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater to hold series of virtual Town Hall forums 2021-07-14
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, will hold a series of Town Halls to introduce Ken-Matt to the VG community and share news ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot helps break ground at AIDS Garden Chicago 2021-06-02
- On June 2, various local officials, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, helped break ground at the AIDS Garden Chicago—the city's first public park to memorialize the early days of Chicago's HIV epidemic, and to honor those ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Military bill, LGBTQ teen, trans deaths, Pride items, children's book 2021-05-09
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that directs the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs in the Garden State to assist former Armed Forces service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens names artists for Black Monologues, part of Black Beauty Fest 2021-03-25
--From a Victory Gardens Theater press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater, in partnership with The Black Women's Expo and Black Owned Chicago, presents the 5th Edition of the Black Beauty Festival (BBF), April 10-11, 2021. Offered virtually for the first time, Black ...


Gay News

Where Did We Sit on the Bus? online streaming production starts Feb. 22 2021-02-04
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater and Geva Theatre Center announce the online streaming production of Brian Quijada's music-infused production of Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, written and performed by Brian Quijada and directed by ...


Gay News

AIDS Garden projected for fall 2021 completion 2020-12-22
- State Rep. Yoni Pizer convened a virtual meeting Dec. 21 to discuss the progress of the AIDS Garden Chicago. The long-planned site is "destined to become a true Chicago landmark and destination," said Pizer as he ...


Gay News

AIDS Garden Chicago installation update coming Dec. 21 2020-12-18
- CHICAGO — On Monday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m., 12th District State Representative Yoni Pizer will be hosting a virtual town hall with fellow elected officials, community partners, and project managers to provide a progress report ...


Gay News

THEATER Andre De Shields to help celebrate youth Dec. 9 2020-11-11
- Andre De Shields—a Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning actor, director and educator, and the 2019 "Triple Crown" winner for his portrayal of Hermes in Hadestown—will be the keynote speaker of the Victory Gardens Theater event "Voices of ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces StudentsFirst Virtual Showcase 2020-10-07
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—Victory Gardens Theater announces the Voices of Tomorrow: Their World on Stagefundraising event on Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The virtual event will showcase powerful and moving spoken word and artistic works created by ...


Gay News

Aurora garden damage seen as possible hate crime 2020-09-02
- In Aurora, a garden that included a shed painted rainbow colors to support the LGBTQ community was destroyed recently after someone smashed it with a pickup truck—and local authorities are viewing the attack as a possible ...


Gay News

Greenhouse Theater stops creating shows 2020-07-28
- Greenhouse Theater Center co-owner William Spatz said July 27 that he no longer intends to produce theater at the multi-space Lincoln Park venue at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., formerly the home of the Victory Gardens Theater ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens ED leaving amid rising tensions 2020-06-09
- Victory Gardens Theater Executive Director Erica Daniels—who was also named executive artistic director just last month—shared her decision with the board to leave the company This development followed weeks of ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens announces IGNITION Festival of New Plays 2020-05-18
- Victory Gardens Theater outgoing Artistic Director Chay Yew and Executive Artistic Erica Daniels announced the lineup for the 2020 IGNITION Festival of New Plays. Productions include Black Like Me, by Monty Cole; North Star, by Georgette ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens has new management model, names new ED 2020-05-05
- The Victory Gardens Theater board of directors announced a new management design for the 46 year-old institution. When Artistic Director Chay Yew departs at the end of June, Victory Gardens will adjust its executive structure to ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.