Blossoms and a Birthday.

Friday, March 28, 1997

Cherry Blossoms

here's a special event every year in early Spring in Washington, DC, called (duh) The National Cherry Blossom Festival. It's a very historic, two-week celebration begun in 1910 that consumes most of the town, and draws people in from all over the world.
DC got some early, unexpected March snow this year as we did and the blossoms are a bit late this year. But many things are in bloom already: forsythia, cornelian dogwoods and of course, tulips, crocus and narcissus.
The history of the cherry trees is most interesting and worth a read, so you'll know where they came from, how and why.
I attended the Festival back in the 60s when LBJ-tyrant ruled, and remember Ladybird (aka Mrs. Johnson) dedicating the start of the event. Back then, us Hippies were persona non grata almost anywhere, so I didn't stay for the full two weeks; one day was enough. But there are some fond memories of an idyllic time in my life there.
Of the 19+ varieties of Japanese Cherry, I carry 2-3 at my garden center and nursery. They are not long-lived trees as the articles suggest. They have root disease problems that usually limit their lifespan to about 25-30 years. But they're wondrous in the Spring.

In A Hurry

I was out on landscape evaluation visits most of Saturday and Sunday, but with a Landscape Design Workshop going on, the weekend retail traffic was awesome for this point in the season. My Landscape Foreman, Alan C. Miller conducted the individual and group sessions on Saturday. He's better at it than I am; he's got over 25 years in the business. I'm only into my seventh.
Everyone wanted color, fragrance, plants, blooming bulbs, perennials, grasses, flowering trees and shrubs; anything that was in bloom or about ready to. It was busy. The staff handled it with ease.
Several large jobs in Maryland were inked and a host of design and estimates were requested from me.
I'm still trying to get all the mess sorted out from the crash last Monday of my Office Pentium. It's almost fully reloaded and I'll get to the spreadsheet work as soon as I'm sure the O/S is stable again. It's a bitch losing that much data and apps, plus all the unrecoverable productivity. I'm well over a week behind now, so I'll have to double-up on the time required to generate estimates just to get even again. New requests pour-in daily, so until the fix is completed. I'm falling further and further behind. We'll also back-up both my units and the Front Counter units as soon as the minor glitches are resolved. Reserve battery pack are on order for all units at the garden center. Mea culpa.
On Tuesday evening, the Windows 95 Guru, Jeff Horn stopped by to finish partitioning my 1.9gb HD on my Office Pentium. We'd tried last week, just before the catastrophic HD crash, but it wasn't successful. This time it was. There's a few minor spills to clean-up, but it recovered a ton of space wasted by the single c:\ partition. It's called Partition Magic and it's one of the slickest pieces of software I've ever seen.
In a last minute flurry to get the renovations and repairs done to the garden center and nursery areas, all the Landscape Crew are in all of this week. Five days of solid work and we're ready for Spring and to go landscaping. The jobs are piling up and the weather promises to mess things up again. We have a lot of new faces on the landscape crews this year more so than in the previous seven seasons to train and work with. My foreman and Marc Sprenkle, his crew chief, will turn things around and get them into shape quickly.
Greenhouses 2 & 3 have to be emptied of all the container nursery stock that wintered over. They'll instead be filled with hundreds-of-thousands of shade and sun perennials, as will Greenhouse 4. But because of unexpected cold and frost damage, not all of the nursery stock can go out at once to harden off. Some will have to stay behind and be introduced gradually to the new weather. The final layer of crushed bluestone will be applied to top dress the Nursery Stock Display Areas and give everything a fresh, Spring look.
Beginning the week of April 7th, 20-25 tractor trailers will make their way in with tens-of-thousands of pieces of fresh, nursery stock and containers plants. I always look forward to the new stuff.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Almost

The next time that Slick Willie falls and hurts himself specifically for the sympathy vote and quickly leaves the country for a few days to get out of the hot media kitchen, all mention of his criminal sctivities and that of the corrupt DNCs, seem to disappear from the media. Just amazing. It's actually peaceful, serene, bucolic and just-plain-restful with that moronic Bubba Boy out of the country. If AlGore would just join him. But don't be fooled by the headlines about Clinton and Yeltsin in Helsinki, Finland. Billy-boy's crimes are temporarily buried on page 2 of most dailies, until the scumbag returns. Then the shit will heat up and boil again.
Now the Gore idiot I didn't do anything wrong and I won't do it again has left for China or some other third world shithole country. Please keep him there, won't you?
On of the most piercing journalism pieces about the quid pro quo the sleazy liberal democRATs pulled over the American voters eye is here. Their obviously criminal activities frames a viscious and repetitive scenario that was repeated thousands of times, yet they still deny it.
Hey shit-for-brains Clinton: how about staying away for the next three years? Here's my contribution check for $1,000. We can take up a national collection. Millions and millions of dollars for Bubba to go back to Oxford University and get the degree he couldn't in the 70s. Hell, he was too stupid then; I doubt anything's changed. Hey Billy: it's okay to inhale this time around. It's the 90s and everyone's cool. heh, heh, heh. Somebody call the DEA on the liberal lowlife.

Garden Soil Preparation

What should you be doing right now to get your garden(s) into shape for the coming season? Simple.
Turn the soil over and allow oxygen back into the soil. All Winter, it's been waterlogged and most of the oxygen has been forced out of the soil. Sprinkle in 10-6-4 fertilizer at the rate of 20lbs per 100 sqft to replenish the nutrients. Hand rake well and smooth over. Let it dry out and absorb oxygen. If you have compost left over from last year, work it into the soil. Leaves, grass? Yep, them too. Use all the organic matter to enrich and loosen up the soil. If someone is giving away horseshit composted with straw, take all you can carry.
Plan the garden. Rotate the crops if it's a vegetable garden: move the corn to where the beans were, move the beans to where the radishes were, You know the drill. Not only will the crops do better in a location different than last year, the soil will appreciate not having so many nutrients depleted by the same crop. The 10-6-4-fertilizer that you're using to replace micro-nutrients and trace elements will help, but won't do the job alone.
For direct sow crops those that won't grow well in pots prior to transplant because of a large tap root system be sure the soil temperature is 55F+ and that you mulch well up to 1" of quality double shredded hardwood bark, not wood to preserve moisture and warmth. Mulch the potted transplants well too. The direct sow and transplants won't even begin to grow and will just sit and rot unless the soil is upward of 55F+. Don't use a home thermometer; get a soil thermometer at your local garden center.
Be prepared for a late frost or cold snap in the weather. Have the necessary plastic or cloth covers ready to install at a moment's notice from the local weather forecasters. If you don't have a good local weather forecast like we do, use a quality national forecast service, with a local advisory, like The Weather Channel. They're precise and dependable. And there's several different types of forecasts available for your viewing. Cool.

It's Not Over Yet

I really thought that when the O/S and all software were restored to my Office Pentium, the problems would somehow end. Silly me.
Now the home Pentium has developed a virus in Word 97, called the concept virus, that's wreaking havoc with my system. Word just shuts down after illegal operation notices. It seems that Win95 won't allow Word to close-out any file that's been opened, and it keeps cycling into illegal ops. Plus, when I benchmark the Pentium 150 against a simple Pentium 90, the 90 is faster. Huh?
DuraCom, the manufacturer has suggested some fixes that I'll try to implement today. One is to open the unit, shut down and go into DOS, scan the unit for the offending virus and zap it with the virus software while in DOS. It apparently can't detect it while running Windows.
I'm just getting more and more tired of these problems and their concommitant problems. If a fix is found today, I'll be taking some extreme steps to insure it doesn't repeat itself.


My sister, Becky, is flying in from San Francisco this week for a two-week stay with us. Her birthday is today; I won't tell you the year. She'd whack me. She's a year-and-a-half younger than me (I'm 47) and has quite a rising career in health care in progress: a Master's Degree, a wonderful new job, greatly increased responsibilities and concurrent salary, a longer commute to work in south San Francisco, but hey; that's the price one pays for the good life on The Left Coast.
I made about a dozen business trips from NYC to SF in the mid- to late 80s; I stayed at Becky's home in Mill Valley 3-4 times: a beautiful home built on a mountainside with a breath-taking view. What a magical city San Francisco is. I would have enjoyed living there these past years instead of Princeton, NJ. Nothing against Princeton, but SF is a whole other world.
Happy Birthday Becky!

J o h nS h e l l e y

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