hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


July 13, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: A garden that grows amok


But the sight of wilderness taking over my property gives me an unbearable guilt complex. My lawn is always neatly trimmed and my hedges are cut when needed. I'll even prune a tree, provided I can reach it with a pole pruner.

I've been to some of the finest gardens in the world and marvel at their delight. Fuller's Gardens in North Hampton, N.H., has the best roses I've seen in New England. If you're ever in Vegas, don't pass up Bellagio's. The gambling there takes a back seat to the horticultural wonderland that's present.

Nothing like getting carried away in a romantic reverie of enchanting fragrances and captivating color while you clean out your wallet.

A quick garden fix would be Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., right by the ocean. I often find my way to these places with a camera. The work and patience it takes to maintain their beauty boggles my mind, never mind the green thumb you must exercise.

The grand prize goes to Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, where I spent many a day investigating Austria's imperial heritage while studying in that country during 1960. The place is festooned with horticultural wonder as if Edward Scissorhands (the Johnny Depp movie) was living on the property.

"Consider it done," I proclaimed. "No matter what — rain or shine — I'll give the garden its due. Sow so ye shall reap."

So I plunged right in on my hands and knees, using a trowel to unearth everything in my path. Don't ask me what I destroyed. I can't tell you. By the names which were rattled off, I can only say it was serious stuff.

"Do you know what it would cost to replace all of that?" she lashed out. "I couldn't even put a value on that."

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