Grumpy’s gift for prognostication never fails to awe his faithful readers. As Fanny Aster of Hoppy Toad, Kentucky puts it, “He can see into the future with both eyes closed.” Once again, the Oracle of Opelika graciously shares his gift of augury with the legion of curious Fannies who depend on his foresight with the following bold predictions for Gardening 2016.
Prediction #1. The weather will suck. Depending on where you live, there will be tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, withering droughts, blinding blizzards, unrelenting heat, unexpected freezes, month-long drizzles, pummeling hail, and soaking humidity. Big deal. Get on with your gardening. The weather is never nice.
Prediction #2. Japanese persimmons will rock your world. If you live in the Middle through Coastal South (USDA Zones 7-9), this is the fruit tree for you. It’s easy to grow, highly productive, never needs spraying, and develops gorgeous orange-red fall foliage. Grumpy harvested over 30 pounds of apple-crisp, sweet fruit from a single, 8-foot tree this fall! Good mail-order source: Petals from the Past.
Prediction #3. Crepe murder will continue. People everywhere will mindlessly chop off the top of the South’s favorite tree, thinking that this makes it bloom better. The practice will spread to other trees too — Bradford pear (no loss there), red maple, flowering cherry, magnolia, and even (I feel an artery popping in my brain) Japanese maple. The only benefit of continuing crepe murder is that it will provide plenty of fodder for my annual Crepe Murder Contest that’s coming up in February. Be still my pounding heart!
Prediction #4. Natural/biological/organic pest control products will soar in popularity, as retailers recognize consumers want environmentally safe products that work. Grumpy is able to control almost every insect and disease pest in his garden using just three products — Natria Disease Control (it uses the beneficial soil bacterium, Bacillus subtilis), neem oil (an insecticide/fungicide made from the tropical neem tree), and spinosad (an insecticide manufactured by another beneficial soil bacterium discovered in an old rum distillery). Grumpy would have named it “Rum Punch,” but wit is at such a premium these days.
Prediction #5. One of you will email me, “My snake plant is blooming! My snake plant is blooming! You should do a story on it! Have you ever seen such a thing?” Well, yes — yes, I have. All of my snake plants bloom. Every year. The trick is to give them plenty of sun, even though they’re famous for tolerating low light. Also, don’t repot too often. Snake plant likes confined roots. So sorry.
If “seeing a snake plant bloom before I die” headed your bucket list, cross it off now! Replace it with “Meeting Grumpy in person.” Now there’s a lofty goal!