Category: Gardening

Nov 27, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Orchid Surprise

I got my first orchids after moving into a freshly remodeled house five years ago. Home renovation shows always include an orchid or two in the “after” footage. I thought it was a rule. Though space for a plant was limited, the master bathroom seemed like an ideal location. My first two selections were miniatures with variegated foliage and mauve-ish flowers on four-inch stems. They were small, in pots that matched my color scheme, and inexpensive. Dormant orchids in net bags rather than pots were so cheap, I decided to try one of them as well. The bathroom wasn’t nearly as well lit as I thought. After a few weeks, I moved my trio of orchids to my kitchen table. It’s …

Oct 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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My Backyard

Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived over the years haven’t been very functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit, I viewed each potential new residence more for garden potential than anything else. Functionality never entered my mind. The garden I abandoned three years ago contained more than 600 varieties. When I bought the place nearly two decades ago, I visualized a garden worthy of a spot on the hoity-toity ladies’ garden tour. Deer, drought, fire ants, and Bermuda grass conspired against me. Throw in heat, humidity, budget constraints, and the size of the yard, and I never stood a chance. A walk through the garden was pleasant enough, but the overall setup wasn’t conducive to lingering. The peculiar lot lacked even a …

Sep 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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Home-Grown Tomatoes

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato rarely appear before the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. Coworkers and neighbors welcomed the surplus. That was almost twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. A few years ago, I bought a …

Aug 24, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Dad’s Garden

I’m pretty sure gardening is genetic. Whether a recessive gene or one of those that lie dormant until needed, I don’t know and couldn’t say. But I know beyond a doubt that my love for gardening was passed down to me from my father’s side of the family. Dad’s mother kept a vegetable garden in the backyard of her little house on Park Avenue in downtown Lexington. She may have grown a few zinnias for cutting and maintained a beautiful collection of African Violets in her dining room. But Granny was first and foremost a vegetable gardener. Space was too precious in her little garden to waste on pretty things. Granny planted new crops in late winter, early summer, and late …

May 18, 2015
By Michael Rupured
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A Taste of Retirement

Submission deadlines make me nervous. Working without an outline and only vague ideas about where the story might go means I could hit a wall at any time. Prompted by a May 1 deadline for Whippersnapper, I took a week off from the day job in mid-April for a taste of what life will be like after I retire. I finished the first draft Tuesday evening. Wednesday and Thursday I worked on revisions. Friday and Saturday I wrote the dreaded synopsis the publisher requests with every submission. Vision issues keep me from writing for more than a few hours in one sitting, so I had time to do other things. The weather sucked. Aside from a few sunny hours on a couple of days, rain made doing much of anything outside difficult. …

Apr 18, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Backyards

Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived haven’t been all that functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit me, I viewed every residence before moving in more for garden potential than anything else. I fell in love with plants and, as I’ve been known to do, went overboard — three times, including in a duplex I rented — cramming each new variety I couldn’t live without anywhere I could find a spot. Other than mowing, checking out all the different kinds of flowers has been pretty much the only thing to do in any yard of mine ever since. The garden I just abandoned contains more than 600 varieties. Sixteen years ago when I bought the place, I visualized a …

Mar 31, 2013
By Michael Rupured
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A Time for Planting

Easter weekend kicks off the gardening season here in Athens. Although freezing temperatures are possible for another couple of weeks, the risk is slim. And yesterday, with sunny skies and a high near seventy, folks throughout my neighborhood were out adding new plants and spreading bags of mulch. Spring snuck up on me this year. The exceptionally mild winter we’ve had is partially to blame. Running shirtless in December, January, February, and into March prevented much of my annual winter angst and the related longing for spring. But I didn’t see spring coming because I haven’t been gardening. Clocks and calendars determine when spring is supposed to arrive. But the proof is in the garden. I have a special fondness for those harbingers of …

Feb 09, 2013
By Michael Rupured
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Bitten by the Garden Bug

When my first ex and I moved into a duplex back in the late 1980s, the yard wasn’t even a factor in our search. The previous tenant must have had a big dog or two, as the fenced in back yard was more mud than grass–especially the perimeter. I planted a few impatiens around the patio and tossed flower seed, purchased for ten cents a pack from the Ben Franklin Five and Dime store, along the inside of the fence. By summer’s end, I was hooked on gardening. The realtor who helped me find my first home said I bought the yard I wanted and took the house that came with it. For my first Georgia residence, I focused more …

Apr 01, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Requiem for a Garden

Part of me is grieving a big loss in my life. No, I haven’t lost anyone important to me recently. My partner and I are still together and doing great. The dogs are fine,too. It’s our garden. I’ve lost interest in gardening–a hobby I’ve enjoyed for several decades. More accurately, I’ve given up. I don’t have the time, and even if I could find time, have lost the inclination. The gardening bug first bit me around 1985 when I lived in a duplex back in Lexington. Because the previous tenants owned at least one dog, the fenced in backyard sported a few patches of grass and large swatches of bare ground. I picked up a bunch of flower seed at …

Jan 06, 2012
By Michael Rupured

A Welcome Sight

Winter is the time of year I most appreciate living in the Deep South.  Today the temperature was in the upper sixties. The forecast calls for similar highs well into next week with lows only in the middle forties. It’s the one time of year I don’t mind temperatures here being twenty degrees warmer than much of the rest of the country. When I lived in Kentucky, crocus were typically the first flowers of the season. Snow crocus typically bloomed in mid- to late-February, but sometimes bloomed as early as late January. They were followed a few weeks later by giant crocus, which preceded the bright yellow blooms of daffodils. Daffodils bloom weeks–sometimes even months–before crocus here in Athens. Last …

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