GreenPrints #081, Spring 2010 20th Anniversary Special



The long-awaited, extra-special, extra-large, extra-featured 20th Anniversary Issue!



This back issue of The Weeder’s Digest includes the following gardening stories and tales:

Black Dirt
The day my mother found her own measure of heaven.
Here we have a story that only a gardener would appreciate—which makes it all the more enjoyable for us. An obvious choice for starting off a spring celebration issue.

What a Load of Manure
Put out by cow poop.
Way, way back in the winter of 1996 (GP#28), I ran my one and only editorial survey. The number one request I got? More humor! Ever since then, I’ve done my best to grant that wish.

On Quietude
The sounds of a garden.
Stories are the activity of GreenPrints—the busy gardener weeding and planting. A good essay, though, is that quiet moment on the bench, the one when you slow down and reflect on it all. GreenPrints will always be primarily a magazine of stories: plots, events, and experiences. Yet there’ll always be a welcome place for essays as thoughtful as this one.

Gardening & Life
Over 40 garden metaphors in one story!
John Hershey’s gentle personal humor has often graced these pages (see GP#49, 65, 67, 73, 74, 76, and—my favorite—“Warm and Fuzzy Garden Communication,” about lawyers, of all things, in GP#71). Whenever I see his name in my inbox, I instantly smile. And certainly a piece about life and gardening is appropriate for our anniversary.

The Scent of Lilacs
One branch, in a small way, changed my life.
A familiar garden flower touches the still-unfurled life of a young teenager. Romance, good writing, and a gentle lesson on the power of plants in our lives all made this a wonderful choice for the issue.

My 20th GP Tree grew in my gutter.
Everybody knows Mikey! This National Public Radio star is as close as gardening has to a celebrity. Best of all, he has faithfully written for GreenPrints for 12 years! His hailstorm-of-humor writing style has made this Contributing Editor a big favorite with our readers. Thank you, Mr. McGrath!

Gardening with Jake
My son and I get along better in the garden.
I get so many wonderful stories about gardening with children. It’s a rare issue that doesn’t have at least one. Gardening together clearly is important for so many children—and their parents.

When Is a Gardener Not a Gardener?
The question’s not as simple as you may think. By Becky Rupp.
Becky Rupp first wrote for GreenPrints way back in Issue #2 (“Reading in the Garden,” a wonderful, wonderful 7-page justification of horticultural idleness). She didn’t become a regular Contributing Editor, though, until #58 (“Remedial Weeding,” a classic about using weeding to get over people who make you really, really angry). GP is privileged to feature her work: Becky’s superb writing is always a stunning combination of erudition, whimsy, insight, and wit—all rendered in a deceptively smooth, self-deprecating style. Thank you, Becky!

Landscaping with a Dead Cat
The day I buried Mama Pood.
I receive lots of stories about pets and gardens: Clearly, many gardeners enjoy nurturing both. Since I can’t run them all, I tend to choose ones that offer something new and different. This one certainly does that!

The Man That Grew in My Garden
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever grown.
Ever since our very first issue (with “Planting Out” from Geoffrey Charlesworth’s The Opinionated Gardener), I’ve run excerpts from gardening books. My theory: Why write a review telling you a book is good? I’d rather show you by letting you enjoy a taste of it. To continue the tradition, I’m sharing this piece from A Walk Through My Garden, an anthology produced by the Tallgrass Writers Guild and edited by Whitney Scott. The 66-piece collection contains many beautiful poems (one’s on p. 35) and strong essays on a wide range of gardening topics.

Lady, I Just Gotta Ask
He cleared this throat and said …
I have always loved homespun humorous anecdotes. I run them every issue I can. They have a special place in this crusty old editor’s heart.

Johnny Lilyseed
Spreading beauty wherever he goes.
A story with a lesson as simple and giving as this and our anniversary issue? Seems like a natural match to me! (Plus, guess what flower is used to commemorate a 20th anniversary? The daylily!)

Amending the Soil
Should I put Sammy’s ashes in my garden?
I receive so many wonderful stories about the consolation gardening can offer a person who has lost a loved one (or beloved pet) that for a while I felt I almost had to run one “dead” story every issue. I am grateful that gardening helps many people heal and that I’ve had chances to share that. Yet, in two decades, I’ve never seen a piece quite like this one. While honoring the solemnity of its topic, it also adds a gentle twist of humor.

The Peas or Me
Who will win?
A new, humorous voice on an old gardening topic—How could I resist? Anyone who’s ever grown shell peas (I described my own mishaps way back in Issue No. 10) will know what Jessie’s talking about.

What Is a Gardener?
Just how hard do you have to work to qualify? By Diana Wells.
Contributing Editor Diana Wells first wrote for GreenPrints way back in Issue No. 5 (Spring, 1991) and has been in nearly every issue since. A renowned garden book author (Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History is her newest title), British-born Diana serves as GP’s historian, combining fascinating facts from gardening’s heritage with her own unique personal voice. Interestingly enough, she and Contributing Editor Becky Rupp have tackled almost the same subject for this anniversary issue, but from such different perspectives that they’ve made completely different essays. Thank you, Diana, for years of enriching the magazine with your illuminating contributions!

20 Years of GreenPrints
Looking back. And looking on. By Pat Stone.
In which your Editor tells the story of GreenPrints … discloses his favorite all-time GP stories (and how YOU can read them) … lets a local subscriber reveal “Ten (Not Very Flattering) Things You Should Know About The Editor of GreenPrints” … offers his reply to these charges (Hey, I get to defend myself, right?) … explains that, no, He is not a She (even though many readers have thought so) … and shares his honest beliefs about life. All in 8 pages!

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