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Here’s a new garden game we can all play


Make up plant names and gardening fixes, just for fun. Recently, I became the co-administrator of a Facebook group for local gardeners (i.e., Western New York area). It’s a good, lively group with people sharing lovely images of their gardens, especially around Garden Walk time, as well as plant ID and plant/garden problem questions. There is also valuable information about upcoming swaps, sales, and workshops. We screen for bots and remove irrelevant/overtly commercial posting.

However, this group, like most such groups, is subject to the same fatal flaw of online crowdsourcing. In this arena, all information is, pretty much, created equal. Everything is opinion. In our group, as in most such groups, there is no higher authority that can yea or nay an answer to a question and provide something close to a definitive answer.  (Which is why I usually search the Garden Professors group when I have plant problems.) And I am not saying I want there to be such an authority for our group; I don’t. But it can be kind of crazy sometimes. Recently I’ve been amusing myself by making up bizarre answers to common garden questions, some of which are close to stuff I’ve seen, some not so much. As follows:

This plant just came up/I saw it by a creek/is in an unmarked pot. What is it?

“That’s a weed; get rid of it immediately! It will take over your garden!”
“Oh, that’s sheep whistle.”
“Parson’s bottom.”
“Bottlepenny root.”
“Wild guess just to post a comment.”

My shrub/perennial/annual/houseplant is turning yellow/turning brown/wilting/not flowering; how can I fix it?

“Put coffee grounds around it.”
“Dig 2 cups of Epsom salts into the soil.”
“Throw it out.”
“Cut it down to the ground and it will come back up healthy.”
“Wild guess just to post a comment.”

And then the nuclear solutions to this oft-asked question: How can I get rid of this weed?

“Set it on fire.”
“Mix 5 gallons of equal parts vinegar, salt, and soap; shake well; pour in.”
“Cover it with black plastic/cardboard/layers of newspaper/concrete.”
“Burn it, soak the ground with vinegar, then cover with black plastic. Anything but Roundup!”
(No wild guesses here; everyone knows what to do with weeds.)

Originially posted by Elizabeth Licata on gardenrant.com.

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