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Lifestyle Stories

There's more than one way to go clubbin'

Penny Carnathan The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 09:07 AM

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Neither Kim nor I have ever been lucky enough to be garden club members, though both of us would love nothing better than to nosh on oatmeal cookies and trash-talk frail annuals (along with putting our muscle to constructive club endeavors, of course.)

We're both editors. Garden club activities tend to be revving up about the time we're sneaking out of the morning budget meeting, or waiting for the last reporter to file the last story.

Last week we were invited to speak to the Davis Islands Garden Club. We caught the last 20 minutes of the pre-program agenda, and it was fun. Lots of friendly people talking about weeds and tibouchina and what's for lunch. It dawned on me that it wasn't so different from the conversations we have online, where we post more of these little Dirt columns than you ever see in the Tribune.

Online, readers can post comments and we can comment on their comments, and they comment on our comments and, before you know it, you've got a lively conversation that may have nothing to do with the original topic.

Here's a case in point. On July 31, Kim posted an item about her new blackberry lily and how, in researching it, she found a gardener's helpful suggestion to plant it where its small blooms can be seen close up. It was a great hint. And it led Kim to a Hallmark moment of gushy gratitude for all the good advice our online Dirt readers dispense. She used the post to thank them for their wonderfulness.

Here's a glimpse of the responses (severely pruned - you can blather a lot more online than in the newspaper):

Aug. 1, Susan Gillespie: Awwww, we love you, too

Aug. 3, Dave Cyment: When are the beach flowers coming back?

Aug. 3, Janna: Dave, I don't know about the beach sunflowers, but I'm sure someone here does!

Aug. 4, Penny: Janna, thanks for the hot tip on the Brazilian red hot cuttings! They take super fast. Amazing! ... [to Dave] You might like those Brazilian red hots.

Aug. 4, Dave Cyment: I think those beach sunflowers would be fantastic to replace my lawn.

Aug. 4, Susan Gillespie: A better choice to replace a lawn might be sunshine mimosa, golden peanut or dwarf jasmine.

Aug. 4, Penny: How about slowly turning the whole yard into a perennial flowerbed with a mix of stuff?

Aug. 4, Kim: Dave, if you're looking for a surefire groundcover, I love lantana.

Aug. 5, Dave Cyment: I've decided to take the gradual approach and rip up a section at a time, filling with perennials and mulch. ... I think this will actually be more fun

(Note to Dave: We haven't heard from you in awhile. How's the project going?)

In our talk to the Davis Islands club members, we shared highlights from The Dirt online and coaxed them to drop by for a visit. In retrospect, we should have just said, "Hey, here's another club to check out. No dues, clothing optional, drop by at 3 a.m. if you want."

So I'm saying it here. You're invited. Don't forget the cookies.

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