Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 24, 1975 · Page 25
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August 24, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 25

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 24, 1975
Page:
Page 25
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View Awaits Regatta Spectators ci"*rim®$®mm r s"" a II 1C Sunday, August 24,1975 Nestled in the green hills, Sunrise, Charleston's cultural center, is framed by the flags of the United States and West Virginia in this picture taken from the Charleston National Bank Plaza, Kanawha Boulevard at Capitol Street. The plaza will be one site of Sternwheel Regatta activity next weekend. (Staff Photo by Frank Wilkin) How Does Your Garden Grow? This Willing Weeder Works by Candlelight When Gazette music critic Martha Smith croons to her plants they shrivel up and die. Undaunted, she plunged both her black thumbs into the front lawn this spring, challenging Mother Nature lo floral fisticuffs. Following u on account of the results. (Sketch bp Am Stricter) By Martha Smith Argh! I could almost hear my petunias choking as I dragged up the front walk. After all, I had been gone a month, sitting at the right hand of Judith Crist, learning how to be a more brilliant critic. Alas, in my absence, great throngs of sycamore-size weeds had sprung up in my petunia patch, throttling the life out of my prize blossoms. The petunias were my greatest challenge. A previous tenant had, some years ago, grown petunia borders along the walk that were the envy of the East End neighborhood. I vowed I could do as well. So I bought three dozen plants: pink, white and purple double petunias. I set them out, carefully allowing much room for them to spread, as my nextdoor neighbor assured me they would. (My nextdoor neighbor, of course, can sprinkle seeds on granite and great blooms spring forth.) » · * SHORTLY AFTER I set the plants out, I began to notice their marked resemblance to pop- side sticks. They simply stood there; not growing, not budding. Some of the early blooms turned a sickly shade of brown. The dampness from the tears I shed should have been'enough to water a 10-acre botanical garden for a year. i My nextdoor neighbor scrutinized the petulant petunias. "They're going to be okay," she pronounced. "Petunias always take longer to get started." Sure enough, in early July they had spread to make a lovely border. Pink, white and purple banners waved in the breeze. I hovered anxiously, ready to ponce ·· each brazen blade of crahgrass. "I told you they'd be all right," the neighbor smirked. Then, gesturing to her la wn -- a mass of colorful blooming plants -- she asked. "What do you think of my flowers? Aren't they the prettiest things you ever saw?" My petunias were the prettiest things I ever saw. regardless of the neighbor's disgustingly gorgeous flowerbeds. Then I went away for a month and, when I returned, disaster bad befallen the petunia patch. * * * THE WEEDS were having at it, running rampant up and down the floral border. Inwardly I seethed. Outwardly I was prostrate from jet jag. Silently I vowed revenge on the entire crabgrass kingdom. Finally one evening, I could stand it no longer. Shortly before dusk I collected garden tools, plastic garbage bag and set cut to the front lawn. "Aha!" I yelled, leaping upon the giant weeds "Now I've got you." I worked like a fiend, seizing encroaching weeds and yanking them out of the ground. How dare they smother my beloved petunias, I fumed. As darkness descended, I had gotten totally up one side of the walk, but the other side remained a tangled mass. "Help (cough, cough)", I heard my plants gasp. Dashing inside, I grabbed up a large candle and matches. Zip. I ran back out and started wrenching weeds from their deathgrips on the petunias. By now it was totally dark. Guided by front porch light and candle, I worked on. My mother, visiting me from Morgantown, opened the screen about four inches and peered out. "What are you doing, Martha?" she inquired. When told I was completing the weeding job, she murmured a quiet "Uhmmm." Then, looking furtively around to see if any of the neighbors had seen her and might think she was related to the crazed person weeding the flowerbed by candlelight. Mother firmly closed the door. I presume she went off to mix a drink, lie on the sofa and ask herself, "Where did I go wrong?" A jogger trotted past, pausing long enough to remark: "Wait a while longer and it'll be daylight. You can blow the candle out then." Fie upon you, I thought, polishing off the final strand of wild strawberry. Exhausted from their experience, my petunias waved a small gesture of thanks. Satisfied, I blew out the candle and went ia- sidtt Power to the petunias! v

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