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Piedmont area is best of all possible worlds

Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 10:12 am

By Durant Ashmore

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It's time to consider transplanting plants, trees (11/22/05)
Deciduous shrubs more than "bunch of sticks" (11/15/05)
Autumn leaves are nature's gift for mulching (11/08/05)
Plant colorful winter annuals without delay (11/01/05)
Changing landscape rides in with cold winds (10/25/05)

The Piedmont is the best place in the world to live. I say that because of our climate and our people. Our climate is moderate and our people are great.

The column today is inspired by an offhand remark by Dr. Rob Richards. During a rather vigorously challenged croquet game, Rob mad a comment that the Piedmont enjoyed the best weather of any place in the country.

It's nice to have four seasons. We are now fully enjoying nice fall temperatures. Outdoor activities (i.e. football games) are as pleasant as can be. Despite having a very dry spell at the present, this fall promises to be just as glorious as ones in years past. If you haven't been watering on a very regular basis lately, be sure to get your garden hose out now and start seriously soaking lawns and plants.

This winter we will have a little bit of snow and maybe an ice storm. The snow is nice and it's great for the kids. Ice storms aren't so nice, but they don't last long and if a day or two of slick roads is the worst thing that Mother Nature can throw at us we can bear that with little worry. The wintertime is a time for our trees and shrubs to sleep and go dormant while gathering their energy for a superb show next spring.

Spring in the Piedmont s a wonderful time of year. The sunny weather and low temperatures inspire gardeners in a myriad of activities. Hiking in the spring is particularly enjoyable. Go to Paris Mountain State Park in the spring. It's close, and you will be rewarded with a profusion of lush wildflowers.

Summers here are hot. It's a trade-off. If we didn't have hot summers we would have cold winters. To me, cold, dark winters are miserable. I can stand a little bit of snow and ice. It's a novelty. After several days of bad weather the novelty wears off. Cabin fever is a disease that is not common in the Piedmont.

The worst thing about our summers is the humidity. The way to beat humidity is to start working early in the morning. Piedmont dawns in July and August are actually quite pleasant. Start working at five or six in the morning and work until noon. You may be surprised at the amount of work you can accomplish during this period. If you still need to work some more, go inside and take a nap. You can start back working at four in the afternoon and work until dark. Summer siestas in the Piedmont are an idea worth considering.

The other big bonus for the Piedmont is the people who live here. I can say without flinching that we are the hardest working people who live anywhere. We've always got to be doing something. If we're not working, we're busy doing something else (landscape gardening, for instance). If one were to compile a list of 100 or more adjectives to describe the people in the Piedmont, the word lazy would never appear.

Even when we play we work. Have you noticed how serious and busy the fishermen are around here? This last statement does not apply to me. I'm too busy looking at the scenery to be a serious fisherman. My fishing compatriots come home with stringers full of fish. It's because they work at it. I guess when it comes to fishing, I can be described as being lazy.

Rob Richards exemplified the Piedmont spirit in his approach to croquet. He adopted the most unorthodox stance possible for the play of this game. With both hands tightly gripped on his mallet and the mallet head between his legs, he crouched down like a frog as he lined up his shot toward the wicket. The crowning glory of his stance was the drink cup held tightly in his teeth. Despite the ridicule of his wife, Carla, he focused his attention on his task and methodically proceeded to pass wicket after wicket as he left the other challengers in his dust and won the match hands down.

Upon reflection it is quite easy to see how effective Rob's technique was. The key is the drink cup in the teeth. Rob was able to line up his shot like a rifle sight along the lip of the cup, through the croquet ball and toward the elusive wicket. Ingenious! Rob's approach to croquet is typical of how folks in the Piedmont approach everything.

Editor's note: Columnist Durant Ashmore, MLA, of Fountain Inn, is certified by the South Carolina Nursery Association. He can be reached at 243-3446 or

Wednesday, June 23  

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