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Point ‘n’ clink gardening

Dick Tracy

It’s hard for me to talk of gardens and the Internet in the same breath because they’re at opposite ends of my personal universe.

At one end of the spectrum, you have organic, luscious, beautiful and bountiful products of the earth (and the sweat of your brow). At the other is this science-fiction-become-fact technology that opens up a universe of knowledge.

Or a puzzling little dialogue box that says, “This program has performed an illegal function and will shut down.” In my mind, I see a naughty little boy being told to go sit in “time out” until he’s ready to behave himself.

Still, they go hand in hand.

Get on the Internet and use a search engine (Google – http://www.google.com – has become my favorite) to open a blank in which you type “garden.” Then stand back.

Page after page of Web links will appear on virtually every aspect of gardening, from cultivating carnivorous plants to identifying the pests plaguing your plot. Suddenly it’s obvious there is such a thing as too much information on a subject.

Going to the last page offered, I was quickly at 64 pages of Web site listings and noticed a line near the top of the page, reading, “631-640 of about 2,800,000.”

I suppose if you put the word “sex” in a search engine, it might produce an even larger number of Web site opportunities, but I doubt there are many more topics with more Internet information than the art of gardening.

Gardeners love to share, whether it’s the fruits of their labors or whatever they’ve learned that might be of use to someone else.

Because of my membership in the Garden Writers Association of America (go to http://www.gwaa.org to see what it’s all about) I get more than my share of unsolicited gardening e-mails.

Some, like Hilary Rinaldi’s “The Weekend Gardener” (www.weekendgardener.net) are delightfully short and sweet, with common-sense weekly tips such as digging your fingernails into a bar of soap before digging in the earth. That keeps the dirt from getting under your fingernails and the soap dissolves under the faucet during cleanup. Neat, huh?

In contrast, there are other offerings such as the Seeds of Change eNewsletter. The April edition ran 34 pages. Good, meaty information is what they have to offer, and lots of it. If you’d like to be included on their distribution list, e-mail

Gardeners in the know in Nevada and Placer counties relish “The Curious Gardener” quarterly newsletter when it arrives via “snail mail” because it specifically targets gardening and landscaping in the foothills. To get on the mailing list or to just get a preview of what’s in store, you can view the newsletter by going to

OK, you want to check out some pretty pictures?

Try Wayside Gardens of South Carolina, at http://www.waysidegardens.com, and you’ll get over 250 rose varieties, some 471 perennials and 64 different vines.

And who can do without advice from Martha Stewart? Never make a fool of yourself by joking about a “dumb blonde” and Martha in the same breath. The lady WORKS at what she does, and expects her employees to work just as hard.

That shows in the “Gardening 101” section, which showcases her advice on a wide range of garden topics, and the “Encyclopedia of Plants,” which includes subsections on such things as those which attract hummingbirds and others which deer generally find distasteful. You’ll find it all at http://www.marthastewart.com

Happy Web surfing!

Dick Tracy is an award-winning garden writer and photographer, master gardener and former president of the Foothills Horticulture Society. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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