This is my last my last garden column.
It’s been great fun being with you all these years. After all, even if I don’t write a garden column, I still shop in the IGA and go to the gym and that’s where many of you stop me to ask questions. I hope you’ll go right on doing that.
Now, to reminisce just a little …
In 1969, I built a vacation home here and my family loved it. No matter the season, we hardly missed a weekend or a vacation. In the spring of 2004, I moved here full-time. I started working for the Reporter shortly after that.
I think it was a year later, March of 2005, I gave Peter Boody, the editor, three sample garden columns; he liked them, and asked for a title.
I spent the next weekend with my family in Westchester and asked if “Gardening with Galligan” was okay.
My oldest grandchild thought “Crops with the Crone” would be better (I know, I get no respect).
“Gardening with Galligan” debuted soon after. A decade ago.
There have been many fun encounters; at least, I found them fun.
The first time someone I didn’t know approached me, I was going in the front door of Ace hardware in the Heights. A guy coming out said, very abruptly, “Hey!” Not “Excuse me, but don’t you write …” but just “Hey!”
I stopped, not quite startled and in the same spirit, replied with something like “What?”
“Can I put my dahlias in next Saturday?”
“Easily,” I said. “Actually sooner, I saw the long-range forecast.”
“Great,” he muttered and left for his car. I laughed. And loved it.
I was, it seemed, famous!
Then there are the calls at home: “What is the pink thing blooming at the dump?”
I get my garbage collected so I don’t drop it off at the Recycling Center. But we went online together, typed in “fall blooming pink shrub” and there it was — crepe myrtle. She was delighted.
I received another call at home, this one more complicated. There were pots in front of a house not too far from me, filled with flowers the caller really loved but couldn’t identify and wanted to buy. Did I know what they were?
I volunteered to drive by the next time I was going to the post office since it would be on my way, but asked if she was computer literate. “I’m online now,” she said. From her description, I told her what to type. I didn’t know how to pronounce it, had only seen it in books, but I could spell it. Cleome. I still don’t know how to pronounce it.
One of the funniest encounters — I’m still slightly guilty about it — came about this way. Archer Brown, my then-editor, told me a houseguest had given her an African violet and she wondered how often it should be fed.
I didn’t know but looked it up for her. One-third teaspoon of plant food, weekly.
A week later, I was at a large reception when I could feel myself being looked at, pointed out. A woman approached, quite diffidently, went to great lengths to excuse her interruption and told me the same story Archer had. I smiled and repeated the answer I had just looked up.
She thanked me, went back to her circle and I could see her describing the encounter. This woman knows everything! I had a moment of guilt, thought I should explain, then thought better of it and thoroughly enjoyed the undeserved praise.
I could go on for quite some time but I’m already over my limit.
So thank you all for the fun. Garden as long as you can. It’s good for the soul. And call me whenever you want, I’m in the book.
And once more, thanks for everything!