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Mother Nature "i has disowned my garden. Not only are all the flowering plants In revolt, but what little grass once grew there has apparently receded into the earth. I'll admit I was more than a little shocked to find that weeks of planting, watering and waging war against the weeds had been in vain. In one fatal blow, the entire operation was wiped out. I should have realized I was in trouble when I consulted our crack garden editor Anne Howard for advice on both hoaseplants and flowerbeds. She began milling around In a towering stack of gardening books and came up with several volumes which she recommended for my perusal. Now, if I'd wanted to wade through a dozen books, I would have gone to the library. So I put Anne's ability to the test. I asked for her advice, to be drawn, mind you, from personal experience. Our conversation went something like this: "Do African, violets need a lot of sunshine?" Anne: "Well, some do and some don't." "Should they be watered, frequently?" Anne: "Well some should and some shouldn't." This went on for u long as it took me to learn that Anne wasn't going to volunteer anything. I should have suspected she didn't want to become involved in the assassination of my lawn. She didn't want me r e t u r n i n g to her desk, waving a dead daisy in her face and yelling, "Aha! You gave me the wrong information.' " Looking back, I can respect Anne's judgment in not lending her reputation to anything connected with my garden. So I set out on my own: selecting seeds from packets at the grocery store, and t r a v e l i n g downtown to purchase rather expensive plants to be set out. The better part (in length of time, not accomplishment) of a day was spent hoeing rows and pushing seeds into the ground, and digging holes in which to place the then-healthy plants. I'll admit there was great initial s a t i s f a c t i o n a t seeing something blooming in the yard. This delight was shortlived, though, because the power of the yard itself began to take effect. To understand my plight, one has to picture the yard. It is a miniscule patch, untouched by sunlight. Great, wild bushes have joined in unholy matrimony with surrounding trees to form a dark canopy overhead. A rusty, leaning fence long ago erected to form a b o u n d a r y line, threatens to keel over and crush the soil beneath it, probably inflicting tetanus germs. The soil Itself makes the Mojave Desert seem like an oasis. The dirt is loose, sandy and colorless, held together by a vine which has created a complex maze of subterranean patterns. I never know when I will find this vine hiding behind a stone, waiting to reach up and grab a shoelace to trip me. This same vine, in fact, has. encroached upon the house itself, threatening to smother it and forever seal the door. But that's another story, After diligent watering and verbal encouragement to my flowergarden --saying "Grow.damn it!" (Helps, I've found)--the first green shots timidly peeked through. I was elated. My garden was growing. A week later, while the shoots were tender and struggling to survive, I chanced into the yard after dark, only to discover a rabbit, redpawed in the act of consuming the very last item. It wasn't that I begrudged him a little snack, it's simply that I wished he had confined his nibbling to less expensive meals. I understand why he didn't want to eat the grass, and I must say I couldn't blame him. Now I know how Farmer MacGregor felt. That was the beginning of the end. From that time, the blooming plants began to droop, their leaves turning brown and dropping off one by one. Even my pleading on bended knee for them to shape up fell on deaf petals. My garden had lost the will to live. Now all that remains is one plant, still in a pot, which sits on a patio table. And the expensive planter received as a birthday present hasn't done well since a large neighborhood 'dog. crushed the last crimson tuberous begonia beneath his m a s s i v e paw.. I've lecrned a lesson. The only solution is to create a nice, colorful rock garden. The condition of the soil, the total lack of sunlight and the prevalence of dogs heeding the call of nature have combined to execute my plants. It is enough to make Luther Burbank weep. If a spirit ever desired to walk upon the Earth again and needed a place as base of operations, I would issue an invitation to the ghost of Tarzan. He'd feel right at home with all those vines. Perhaps I'll follow Sports Editor Skip Johnson's advice. He suggests I declare the yard a disaster area and apply for federal aid. Welcome Back TO CONTROL AWAY AND NOW FEEL YOU NEED SMOOTH COMFORTABLE FIGURE SHAPING.... IN PANTY HOSE HOLDER OR GARTER STYLE PANTY HOSE REGULAR OR FULL HIP HOLDER 5.00 PANTY HOSE HOLDER Reg. Hip, Aveage.- S-M-L-XL. 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