Monday, December 21, 2009

Honest Scrap Award?

Susan Cohen at Miss Rumphius' Rules has tagged me with an Honest scrap award. I've procrastinated for over a week now.

These are the rules. You have to first list 10 honest things about yourself (and make them interesting). Second, present the award to seven other bloggers. I've been dreading this moment. In the interest of collegiality among garden bloggers and--just to see what I'll say since I don't know myself--I'll give it a try. Here goes ...

Ten Pieces of Honest Scrap about Me
  1. I grew up in Mississippi, descendant of generations of poor farmers who made their ways from Maine and Virginia over 300 years to the deep South, but I didn't become conscious of my own love of gardens and plants until I moved to ultra urban New York City at age 25.
  2. I want to live in Italy (who doesn't?).
  3. I'm unnaturally excited by good garden books by good writers--Noel Kingsbury (with and without Piet Oudolf), Rick Darke, Tim Richardson, Dan Pearson, John Brooks, etc.--and when I get them, read them three or four times, then refer to them forever.
  4. No, I'm NOT an anglophile, I just find the UK gardening culture richer, and more serious, than our own, which tends to be driven by a "how to" mentality. I know mine is an unpopular position in the US.
  5. I think the great American lawn is an environmental horror. 
  6. I always have a novel at hand, mainly for reading at bed time, something to take me away from the circling thoughts about work and the cares of the day. P.D. James right now. Before that, Richard Ford's The Lay of the Land.
  7. No one at my job--marketing in a large engineering/architecture firm--understands at all what a garden is. Well, few, if any.
  8. I'm firmly committed to gardening with a sense of place, using only plants that are suited to existing conditions. That's a hard game to play, especially where I garden, in a soggy, wet clay.
  9. I like just about any movie starring Anthony Hopkins.
  10. I'm gay and married to the same man for 36 years, and maddened that we don't have the civil rights the rest of US citizens do. We got married in Canada after 30 years together.
Now, I pass on the challenge (burden?) to seven other garden bloggers, with no obligation to do this. I think some of them have been tagged before and they may be over it. Forgive me, but you can pretend this didn't happen. The chosen ones:

Les at A Tidewater Gardener

Benjamin at The Deep Middle

Elizabethm at Welsh Hills Again

Susan at The Bike Garden


Phillip at Dirt Therapy

Craig at Ellis Hollow

If you want to play, just list ten things about yourself, then tag seven other bloggers.


  1. I whole heartedly agree with your numbers 2, 5 and 10! Happy Winter Solstice! Carol

  2. Hi James, it sounds like we have many things in common. I love P.D. James as well as most of the other things on your list. Thank you for the award. I've done something like this in the past but I think the thread was called something else. I'll look into it.

  3. I am honored to be in some great company on that list, James.

    I'd want to live in italy for the food alone.

    Blessings on you and your spouse.

  4. James,
    I am honored that you chose to include me in the list, but will graciously decline. I posted something similar last summer which you can see HERE.

    What part of Va. did your poor farming relatives come from? I am also an anglophile and gave myself a trip to England to see gardens as my 40th birthday present to myself. I also enjoy Richard Ford and have been racking my brain trying to remember his name and the name of his last book I want to read - thanks for the prompt. I am sorry that you had to leave the country to get married, but being a Canadian couple can't be but so bad.

    Thanks again, and I hope both of you have a happy holiday and a great new year.


  5. Thanks for playing James. The wait was worth the 10...Italy is my second choice only because I already speak passable French...a good book to quell a busy brain has been my trick since the 4th grade. Have a wonderful holiday.

  6. Carol, thanks. And a Happy Winter Solstice to you too. Now the nadir of the year has passed and soon the days grow longer ... that long climb toward spring has begun.

  7. Phillip, now I think I remember your being tagged with one of these things. You're excused. BTW, I did hear your interview on Ken Druse's radio show (via podcast).

  8. Susan, yes, the food alone is enough. I once ordered a fava bean appetizer in Florence, and got a plate full of unshelled fava beans, a bowl of olive oil, and salt. You can't get more elemental than that. Only in Italy!

  9. Les, OK. You don't have to play. You've done it already. Thanks for your kind answer, though. Near as I can tell, my first Golden ancestor, a John Golding, came from Lancastershire, England, to Gloucester (County?), VA, between 1660 and 1670. His name had the alternate spelling of Golding (but I'm pretty sure it would have been pronounced as if it ended in "en" at that time). One of my co-ancestry searchers is planning to publish a book on what he refers to as the "Tidewater Goldens," but I'm not sure exactly what he means by that term, and I'm still waiting for the book. Good to find You're a Richard Ford fan. He's from Mississippi too, you know, though you'd never guess it reading his New Jersey trilogy (Independence Day, The Sportswriter, The Lay of the Land.) One could do a study of use of landscape in those three books.

  10. Susan aka... I'd settle for the south of France too, though I have no French. At least I speak menu Italian. Thanks for the invite.

  11. Correction on origin: Lincolnshire, England

  12. Gloucester is not far from here and there are a lot of great old places there, as well as old families. It is also home to Brent and Becky's Bulbs.

  13. Les, so Gloucester is on my list when I come south to do some "hands on" ancestry research. I'll have to get by your nursery too.

  14. OK James, done it in a halfish way as in not passed it on, and maybe not been interesting, but have written 10 - thank you for thinking of me. Talking of great gardening books, I have been given Mirabel Osler's "A Gentle Plea for Chaos" for Christmas. Have you read it? It is very very good. I am also very fond of Christopher Lloyd.

  15. elizabethm,
    I have to go see your post now. Thanks for "halfish" playing. I haven't heard of the Mirabel Osler book, but will look it up. I'm constantly looking for out-of-the-ordinary gardening books. I'm also a fan of Christopher Lloyd, though I practice a very different kind of gardening. I fondly recall seeing him in his old rose garden many years ago. Fascinating house!

  16. Mirabel Osler's "A Gentle Plea for Chaos"
    Great leaves Lloyd for dead. (woops)


  17. Martin of the Overthrow,
    This is the second recommendation of Osler's book. And if you recommend it, it must offer something special. I found it on and placed the order last night.



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