Fair-weather warning for gardeners amid another record high

George Hauswirth, master gardner, works on flower beds at Chadwick Arboretum and learning Gardens at Ohio State University.

Our heatwave is a mixed blessing for owners of garden centers as reported in the Columbus Dispatch. Their business is picking up earlier than usual but many of their plants are blooming prematurely. This is a problem for the flowers intended for Easter. DeMonya Nursery’s answer is to place them on skids next to the door and sell them at reduced prices–a bargain for the shopper but a bust for the owners.

Fair-weather warning for gardeners amid another record high.


The above picture is taken from the Columbus Dispatch multimedia site showing how Columbus citizens coped with the recent snow storm. It is filled with people bundled up, cars and snow plows on the highway, and even a cute squirrel in his cozy tree nest.

Then there is this picture of middle school students being released from school early so they can get home before the big storm hits. Look at the picture closely. If it weren’t for the dusting of snow on the ground one might think it is a fall or spring shot. No one is wearing a heavy coat, boots, hat, or gloves. In fact, one kid is wearing shorts and another is wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

I don’t understand the trend of young people wearing light clothing and no coats in winter and Ugg boots and knit stocking caps in summer. This fall I attended my grandson’s football game where the temperature was probably 110 degrees (actual—no exaggeration) in the stadium. In front of us were two middle school girls wearing heavy hoodie sweatshirts and jeans; however, one girl was smart enough to opt for shorts.

Some people have tried to explain to me that young people don’t feel the cold and heat the same way as us old folks. I can assure you I was not one of them. I don’t like to be cold so I bundled up in the winter. We weren’t allowed to wear pants to school therefore I wore hose and knee socks and I still froze. Unfortunately, I did not have a good pair of snow boots until college when I was working. I remember saving to buy a good pair of fur-lined boots, the forerunner of Uggs. 

So why aren’t the kids in this picture dressed for cold weather? Are they products of car pool nation and think they won’t be exposed to the cold any length of time? Are their parents working and don’t see what they are wearing before they go out the door? Or, are they trying to get pneumonia so they will miss days of school?

After pondering this question I think I finally have the answer. The mother to every under dressed kid is the woman I saw in the grocery store on a cold December night wearing flip-flops! (See “Why Do Women Wear What They Wear?”—December)


A christmas tree.

Image via Wikipedia

It is 8:45 on a Saturday night. I rush into the grocery store when I see her—a tall, lean, beautiful blond.

This is my second trip to the store for the day. I forgot a few necessities such as cereal and milk for tomorrow morning and a jug of my favorite red wine for a nightcap. I round the corner and nearly flatten her with my cart. She is standing in the middle of the wine/gift and card section. We give each other “the eye” and then a nod and weak smile. Not the big toothy kind reserved for your long-lost BFF but one with a slight upturn at the corners of the mouth. The kind that says, “Hello stranger. I come in peace.”

She is a tall, willowy, middle-aged blond (cue the harp music and wind machine).The first thing I notice is that she is severely under-dressed for the weather. She is wearing a fashionable lime green puffy vest with a complimentary lime green sweater and skinny jeans—or they might have been the new, trendy jeggings. Whatever they were, they were the tight, show off a killer figure kind of jeans. While I stand there in my ¾ length Lands End coat with the detachable hood and rated to -15 degrees, I think she looks cold. I am warm and self-assured in my stretch mom jeans, green coat accented with a festive red scarf and my gray hair tucked under my charcoal gray corduroy news-boy cap with a green felt wreath jauntily pinned to the side.

She takes a step toward the card display and that is when I see a flash of red. Wait! Did I really see what I think I saw? Toe-nail polish! Yes, she has naked toes! Did I mention it is COLD outside? Like about 15 degrees cold. She is wearing flip-flops (as contrasted to my toes encased in wool sox and fur-lined boots). What is she thinking? Not only is it cold but we have a coating of about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Even if she is so hot she thinks she is immune to the cold, she is risking frost bite just crossing the slushy parking lot.

I don’t understand women who are a slave to fashion. Before you judge me for being old-fashioned and out of step with fashion, let me fill in a part of my resume. (OK, I confess about the mom jeans but they are comfortable and topped with a sweater or sweatshirt no one knows the difference.) I used to own a shop and took frequent buying trips to Chicago to the Merchandise Mart. I believe in looking nice at all times but also being dressed appropriately for the occasion and the season. You don’t wear swimwear in the snow nor snowsuits at the beach. I had a business partner during my boutique days and she was such a slave to fashion that my father once said that if it became the fashion to wear sh-t on your head, she would be the first one to try it.

What was this beautiful but under-dressed woman doing at the grocery store at 8:45 on a Saturday night? I hate to bring up dumb blond jokes but she couldn’t be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.  Why was she wearing flip-flops in the snow? I don’t have the answers to these questions but I hope she was not headed to the annual Wildlights at the Zoo exhibit. She might have a few less toes in the morning. As for me, I settled in by the fireplace wrapped in a big, fluffy blanket with my toes covered and my glass of red wine to warm my soul. I wouldn’t trade places with her for any amount of money.