Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blog of an Ancient Gardener

Remember these lines from English Literature?

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
Yes, they’re from Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” You may give thumbs-down to that Romantic poem, but I give it thumbs-up.

In ancient times, in the last century, when I was a journalism intern at the Clinton Daily Item in Massachusetts, I wrote a story about a malfunction in the town’s water supply. I began, “Water, water, everywhere….” Bill, the editor, loved the literary allusion, but stopped short and began shaking his head when he got to “Nor any drop to drink.”

“We can’t print that,” he mumbled, fingering his unlit cigar. “Readers won’t understand.” I argued for literary integrity. His blue pencil wiggled and the story in print began: “Water, water, everywhere, And not a drop to drink.”

So much for the authentic Coleridge.

But I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ancient Mariner. Look him up on Wikipedia if you can’t remember the story of why he wandered the world with a dead albatross hanging from his neck.

When I thought to name this blog, a light went on: “Blog of an Ancient Gardener.”

Yes, for better or for worse, that’s the name.

This is a blog, not a poem, of course. Yes, I qualify as “ancient,” as my years total more than the biblical “three score and ten.” And I am a gardener, though my postings will wander outside the garden fence whenever things are greener there.

I plan to post at least once a week, so please click on "Subscribe" at the top of the right column if you want notice of new postings.

Welcome to “Blog of an Ancient Gardener.”


  1. Bob,
    Yesterday must have been National Gardener correct-your-mistakes day. I move pachysandra from under a tree because it was getting too much light. Got any suggestions for a ground cover with shallow roots, that will fill in under a tree - shade until 2:00 and then blasting sun. Thanks. Antia

  2. Hello, Anita. My groundcover is for cool shade, so I can't help. There are so many variables that you need some expert help. You can get it free by calling the University of Maryland Extension's Home & Garden Information Center between 8am and 1pm Monday through Friday. The number in Maryland is 1-800-342-2507. From other states: 410-531-1757. Bob ###