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DOWN AND DIRTY 12.23.10

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Fred’s favorite Christmas poem

Every couple of years I like to revisit my father’s favorite Christmas poem inspired by Clement Moore’s famous work ‘Night Before Christmas.’ The writer is unknown but he or she certainly was a gardener; and you may even get some last minute gift ideas from its verse.

Fred Wiche, my father and the first Weekend Gardener, started writing this column years ago, imparting gardening advice and humor. When he died in 1998, I took up the pen with a sense of duty and excitement, recognizing this column as both an opportunity to learn and to honor his legacy. Thanks to him for getting me on my way and to you, my readers, whether regular or occasional, for keeping me steady upon the path.

‘‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the yard
The branches were bare and the ground frozen hard;
The roses were dormant and mulched all around
To protect them from damage if frost heaves the ground.

The perennials were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of 5-10-5 fertilizer danced in their heads.
The newly planted shrubs had been soaked by a hose
To settle their roots for a long winter’s doze.

And out on the lawn, the new fallen snow
Protected the roots of the grasses below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a truck full of gifts of gardening gear.

St. Nick was the driver, a jolly old elf,
And he winked as he said, “I’m a gardener myself.
“I’ve brought wilt-Pruf and Rootone too
For father to try and see how they do.

“To eliminate weeding, I’ve brought 2,4-D,
And to battle Japanese beetles, a new bug remedy.
“To seed your new lawn, a patented sower.

In case it should grow, here’s a new mulching mower.
“For seed planting days, I’ve a trowel and a dibble
And a roll of wire mesh if the rabbits should nibble.

“For the feminine gardener, some gadgets she loves;
Plant stakes, a sprinkler and waterproof gloves.
“A chemical agent for her compost pit,
And for pH detecting, a soil testing kit.

“With these colorful flagstones, lay a new garden path.
“For the kids to enjoy, a bird feeder and bath.
“And last but not least, Fred’s new Lawn and Garden book.
And an ‘Ask Fred’ T-shirt for that well-dressed gardener look.

Then jolly St. Nick, having emptied his load,
Started his truck and took to the road.
And I heard him exclaim through the motor’s loud hum
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a green thumb.”

To each and every green thumb all over Kentuckiana, and even those whose thumbs are not so green, I wish you a very merry holiday and a happy new year. Happy holidays, Jeneen.

(Jeneen Wiche is an avid gardener from Shelbyville. She can be reached at www.JWiche@shelbybb.net.)