West coast peonies

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Wed, 07 Jun 2006 14:09:17 PDT
On Jun 7, 2006, at 1:27 PM, Jim McKenney wrote:
> Max Withers wrote "Where a local "Master Gardener" told me I should 
> grow
> Pelargoniums instead of Peonies."
> Max, I had to laugh when I read that. Long before anyone had dreamed 
> up the
> "master gardener" idea to take the load off the county agents, I 
> visited my
> then local county agent for some advice. I was having trouble with 
> fusarium
> killing my larkspurs. When I asked him for suggestions, he told me to 
> grow
> marigolds instead. And he evidently thought that was an eminently
> professional and appropriate answer.
> I left grumbling about the waste of taxpayer money.
> Jim McKenney

You and me, too. Boy, do I have plenty of stories about the county 
agricultural extension agents in Austin, Texas growing up when I was a 
teenager and first started branching out into interesting, unusual, and 
rare things to grow around my parents' house. I can't tell you how many 
things they told me to forget about and stick to only those relatively 
few things that had been grown in that area for the past 100 years or 
so since those were the only things that would grow there. Many of the 
things (mostly fruit trees at that time) they told me couldn't be grown 
are now fairly large mature trees or bushes around my parents' house. 
And they most likely didn't know about Thad Howard or Scott Ogden, who 
lived close by, so they could only recommend pre-chilling in the fridge 
for 6 weeks of Hyacinths and Tulips as the way to have some pretty 
flowering bulbs in the garden. Maybe they've broadened their 
recommendations more lately. But I still think someone like Cynthia 
Mueller *grows* more than twice as many species, also near that area, 
than they even know about. But I think I may be a little biased...

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

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