This is Garden Path number 2,236

This is Garden Path number 2,236

Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:00 pm

The Messenger 09.14.10

One thousand, three hundred and fifty-two columns ago, on Sept. 7 in the Year of Our Lord 1984, I took the reins of Down The Garden Path from my Granny, Lucy Williams. Yes, the figure is right. Multiply 26 years by 52 weeks.
She had invented the column 17 years earlier, at age 75, and continued the effort unabated every week for those 17 years. Macular degeneration took its toll on her eyesight and in the 92nd year of her age I succeeded her. That totals 43 years between us, and 2,236 columns. Neither of us has missed a week.
So what?
So this: My gut feeling is that some good has come of it. I am convinced there are gardeners and gardens in this county and even beyond that wouldn’t have even existed without a Garden Path column. (She originally dubbed it “Down the Garden Path.” It morphed into “The Garden Path” and later into “Garden Path.”)
Modesty has never been a virtue of mine, so I will say it: I believe there are gardens, particularly ornamental gardens, aplenty hereabouts that are better for the column. The level of garden education within the scope of this readership has been enhanced from elementary school up to higher levels. My elders, what’s left of them, still talk about Lucy Williams’ gentle instructions in these pages at every season of the year.
Though my own renderings have been more toward (supposed) inspiration (and sometimes indignation) there has been, also, at least a modicum of how-to and plant suggestions, both go and no-go.
The latter has brought a smattering of vicious reaction from lovers of such second rate plants as bearded irises, daylilies, lilacs, Bradford pears and on ad nauseum. That’s part of the game, and I am not as polite as Granny was.
Seven more years will mark half a century of Garden Path. What a thought! I’ll keep trying.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.


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