Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2014

Gardeners to get ‘Dear Iris’ column

By Julie Johnston, Ledger photographer | Dec 22, 2011

I drew the honor of writing this week’s column.

I could write about the political scene, or Christmas, or almost any other controversy. Since I haven’t traveled lately, nor had any more mishaps (I am pretty much back to normal, whatever that is, thank you very much for your concern), those didn’t really appeal to me today.

First of all I want to thank Lani Glass for her letter to the editor on November 17 (Unlit bicyclists cause stress) concerning the bad habits of many of the adult bicyclists in this community. I had contemplated writing a column concerning many of the same issues she addressed after seeing 5 (count ‘em, FIVE) serious violations on my way to Master Gardener class one Thursday evening.

The first was a bicyclist who buzzed through a red light without stopping. The last I knew, and I admit I haven’t looked up the law on this lately, bicycles operate under the same rules of the road as automobiles. In other words, you stop at red traffic signals.

Secondly was a bicyclist who made a left hand turn in front of a westbound auto who had stopped and was proceeding into the intersection, necessitating his having to stop again or hit the cyclist.

The third was the one who pulled out from a business driveway on West Burlington in front of the car ahead of me who had to brake to avoid hitting him. Had I been following too closely I would probably have rear-ended that car.

By now I was furious at the stupidity, or at the very least, the lack of driver courtesy, of said bicyclists. However, the evening was not over. A little past 9 p.m. I perceived a shadowy specter ahead on an unlit section of residential street causing me to slow even more (I was doing 25 in a 30mph zone). The shadow turned out to be, you guessed it, an ADULT bicyclist with no lights no reflectors. If I had had any mind to spare at that time of evening, I probably would have given him a piece of it. Instead I decided then and there to write a column to raise awareness of the dangers of such behaviors.

One more crazy bicyclist, this one apparently with a death wish, was spotted that same evening going against the traffic. In other words, driving on the WRONG side of the road.

Lani Glass’ letter to the editor spared all of you my rant. I merely bring it up here to segue into the real subject of my column.

I mentioned that I was taking the Master Gardener class, so I am now considered a Master Gardener intern along with my 12 fellow classmates. There is also a group of Master Gardeners in the community who have completed their course work as well as their volunteer hours to be true Master Gardeners. We meet once a month.

At our December meeting, the group discussed and decided that there is enough interest in gardening of various types, especially food gardens, that there should be a gardening column in the local paper. We even tossed around various titles for said column and how frequently it might run.

Though the details have not been ironed out, beginning in January, either in the Town Crier or the daily paper, you will see a gardening column written by various Master Gardeners. The first will likely pertain to poinsettias, Christmas cacti and amaryllis, since many of us receive these as gifts and then wonder what in the world to do with them.

Another idea floated was that of a sort of gardening “Dear Abby” where you readers could submit questions to be answered in the column. Maybe it could be called “Dear Iris” or “Dear Pansy” or…..you get the idea.

Anyway, until this idea actually gets newsprint inches, confirmation of this as a good idea would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, as soon as Christmas festivities are over and the New Year is here, I will be snuggled in with a cup of coffee and my numerous seed catalogs, plotting my strategies for the 2012 gardening season.

 

Julie Johnston is Ledger photographer.

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