The Soupster calms his gardener friend.
Originally published July 5, 2001
“Excellent!” said the gardener, smacking his lips.
“Good day, Green Thumb,” said a passing Soupster. “And what, pray tell, is your lack of problem?”
“My lack of problem has everything to do with the vigorousness with which my acid-loving plants are thriving,” the gardener said, indicating a particularly robust rhododendron.
“Do you ever use a Garden Weasel?” asked the Soupster.
The gardener ignored the Soupster’s aside and continued onward.
“Anything acid-loving is going like gangbusters in this first year of the millennium,” said the gardener, reopening a long argument he had been having with the Soupster.
“Let’s not go into the millennium issue,” said the Soupster. “Talk about your plants. It calms you down.”
“Ah, my plants,” said the gardener. “Especially my acid-loving ones.” With pride, he pointed to a fecund colony of hosta, each leaf shaped like a spade on a playing card, spreading along the ground.
“You said ‘acid-loving’ thrice already,” said the Soupster.
“Remember our mild winter?” said the gardener.
“A mild, wet winter it was,” agreed the Soupster.
“A lot of rain causes more acid conditions to prevail,” said the gardener, stroking the long white fronds of a goat’s beard plant. “Of course, Our Town’s soil is pretty acid to begin with, there being constant rain and the fact that most of the soil started out as a volcano on Kruzoff Island.”
“I thought the spruce trees looked especially good, too,” said the Soupster.
“Bingo, observant Soupster,” said the gardener. “Spruces are acid-loving, too. If you want to see some especially happy spruce trees, check out the three trees on the south side of McDonald’s restaurant, near Ken Brown apartments.”
“I’ve seen them!” said the Soupster. “Magnificent new growth. It’s like they doubled in size in one year.”
“The spruces especially surprise me,” said the gardener, “because of the mild winter. A while ago, we were having a problem with spruce aphids devastating the trees around here. And the best way to get rid of aphids is a cold winter. But for some reason, the trees seem to be springing back like the aphid is a bad memory.”
“Maybe it is,” said the Soupster.
“Hope so,” said the gardener. “Sweet new spruce tips are among my favorite things in the whole world. An important part of my yearly harvest. I make spruce tip syrup and jam. I even make spruce tip beer. I looooove tart tastes. Like grapefruit juice. Or a good Marinara sauce.”
“Say,” said the Soupster. “You sound pretty acid-loving yourself!”