In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
April, 2006
Regional Report

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Gardener Jack Verducci's garden is dedicated entirely to his miniature railroad.

Ode to Gardeners

Even the weeds look good during the month of April, which is only fitting because it just so happens to be National Garden Month. Gardening is America's #1 outdoor hobby, with millions of people spending time and money to perfect their very own little version of heaven.

April is God's gift to gardeners, so it is to gardeners that I dedicate this column: good people who tend the earth in any kind of weather -- blistering heat or freezing cold -- just to make sure that their gardens are safe are closer to heaven than any churchgoing banker.
Although we have had more than enough rain to float several of Noah's handiwork's, northern California is still looking glamorous in green.

The blossoms have all been blown or washed off the cherry and almond trees, but somehow this summer you can bet your boots that those glorious Bing cherries will arrive right on cue around the first of June, thanks to gardeners. By that time, the hills will have turned golden and people will probably have already started talking about the possibility of drought, although at 200 percent of our average rainfall for the year, that subject seems doubtful. But right now, everything is lush and growing like, well, weeds.

Gardening For Work and Play
I have many friends who are professional gardeners. It's a very nice way to make a living, although we never know if we should take a shower in the morning, to start the day fresh, or in the afternoon so that we can end the day clean. One fellow I know works at the San Simeon Estate near Santa Barbara, another friend works at Disneyland in Los Angeles. My friend Vicky tends all of the indoor plants at the San Francisco Airport, while another friend works at Pier 39, where Tulipmania is going on right now. My friend Bobby mows the lawns at Sunset Magazine, and Bill works in Half Moon Bay in the commercial greenhouses. A friend who tends the grounds at a cemetary jokes that he has hundreds of people under him.

The best part about gardening is working so closely with nature. Ms. Nature will usually rectify even the worst of our mistakes, over time. Whether you garden for food or purely for pleasure, take time to reflect and celebrate the abundance of nature. Like my gardener friend at the cemetery says, as long as you are above ground, everything is ok.


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