Oh Goody! Hate Mail!

May 8, 2008 | By | Comments (4)

Those of you who faithfully read my stuff throughout the years will be surprised – NAY, SHOCKED!! – to discover that some people don’t appreciate my delightful sense of humor.

They let me know about it, too, in both email and snail-mail. They call me all sorts of names, impugn my character, and generally imply that the best place for someone like me is a place much hotter than the one I now inhabit.

Do I mind? Heck, no! I love to get hate mail. Here is one of my favorites.

A little background. Back when I was writing “According to Steve” for Southern Living, I wrote about a trick involving rose petals that I was taught by the folks at Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham, North Carolina. I described it thusly:

“Take any petal of a hybrid tea rose, place it over the crook that your hand makes when you form a fist, and slap it with your other hand. Pow! It sounds just like a cap gun going off! What better way to introduce children, so naturally fond of explosions, to the fascinating world of gardening?”

Given the fact that the Discovery Channel has two shows, “MythBusters” and “Smash Lab,” that are pretty much dedicated to blowing things up, I thought my logic was both flawless and borderline amusing. (Note to PETA – “Smash Lab” does not involve canine violence, so go have some more veggie Alpo and chill out.)

However, Janet from Pensacola was deeply offended. She wrote, “I was shocked by your article in Southern Living magazine, May 2007. I think you must be quite demented! To think it’s a good idea to introduce children to gardening by destroying a beautiful hybrid tea rose!”

She continues. “I didn’t know children were ‘so naturally fond of explosives.’ I see no relationship between gardening and explosives. With all the violence on TV…do we need someone like you showing children how to destroy and lovely flower? I think not.”

Well, Janet, all I can say is you have me pegged. I am demented, quite seriously so. Let’s keep in touch. But instead of exchanging letters, let’s send emails. They won’t let me keep any sharp objects in here.


  1. Grumpy

    You can plant roses any time of year if you live in the South. Outside of the South, you can plant any time the ground isn’t frozen or you aren’t weeping bitterly about not living in the South. Right now, all roses will be sold in containers. Plant in sunny, well-drained soil that contains lots of organic matter, such as peat moss and compost. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. With the exception of some roses, such as ‘Knockout,’ roses are susceptible to fungal problems like black spot and powdery mildew. Try using a product called Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care. It contains fertilizer plus systemic pesticides to control insects and disease. You just water it in according to label directions. You can get it at most garden and home centers.

    June 11, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Hi there, i just found this website and im very excited because i have lots of questions about gardening, i think i know quite a bit but not enough, i want to buy roses but do not know when or where to plant them, is it hard to do?

    June 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm
  3. Grumpy

    Pat, you are a DANGER TO SOCIETY! Just wait PETFB (People for the Ethical Treatment of Flower Buds) hears about this. Shame, shame, shame!

    May 9, 2008 at 10:46 am
  4. PAT

    I find your light sarcasm and wit to be hilarious! I am sure most of your other readers do also…children in a garden should be able to have fun; I once let my son squeeze ballon flower buds making them pop open!

    May 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm

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