Shut Up and Dig

In Unprecedented Move, Garden Writer Putters Around in Garden

A breaking news report from The Allium, the leader in fake horticultural news.


 (undated file photo)

(EUREKA, CA) Garden writer Amy Stewart shocked friends and neighbors by emerging from her home Tuesday morning with a shovel and rake in hand. Although ostensibly some sort of horticultural professional, Stewart has barely set foot in her garden since sometime last spring. "I'm pretty sure I used to come out here and do things," Stewart said, looking around her backyard in apparent confusion. "Do I just start digging, or what?"

Stewart wasn't the only one who seemed confused. A concerned neighbor called the police and reported an intruder in the yard. "She's always going on about plant theft in her garden column," the neighbor said. "When I saw a poorly-dressed woman ripping plants out of the yard, I assumed that's what was going on."

The poorly-dressed woman in question, who was later identified as Stewart herself, explained to the authorities that she was engaging in a practice known as weeding, in which unwanted plants are deliberately removed from the garden. "They've probably just never seen me do it before," she said as she wrote out a check for the police department's upcoming pancake breakfast fundraiser. The terrible clothing, she claimed, was a deliberate choice intended to prevent her from soiling the other equally unfashionable but not-yet-stained clothing that she normally wears.

Stewart spent the rest of the day transplanting perennials and clearing a path from the back door to the chicken coop. At the end of the day, she reported a high level of satisfaction with her choice of activity. "I just turned in my new book," she said, "and I wasn't really sure what to do with a free day. The sun was out for the first time in about a month, so I thought, well, why not give this gardening thing a try?"

Stewart has no immediate plans to return to the garden, but has vowed to give the neighbors advance notice in the event that she does.  "We're a closely-knit community," she said. "It's important that we all watch out for this kind of suspicious behavior."

Posted by on January 27, 2010 at 5:35 am, in the category Shut Up and Dig.
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38 responses to “In Unprecedented Move, Garden Writer Putters Around in Garden”

  1. Judy Laushman says:

    Well played, Amy.

  2. Karen B says:

    Hilarious! “The Allium” indeed. Full marks for this one!

  3. Layanee says:

    Actually, that garden get up is quite the norm isn’t it? How about a little contest on the ‘Garden Gear’ most of us wear? Must be the honor system and show what you actually wear when gardening. I think you will find that the outfit shown above is on the high side of fashion.

  4. EllenK says:

    Funny. Self-deprecating authority!

  5. LOL, AMY.

    Agree with Layanee – big flannel shirts, mud boots and saggy pants are my regular cool-weather garden garb.

  6. Amy, it is a joy to see you in your garden with your chickens! Everyone looks happy!

  7. Rhonda says:

    Hilarious! Reminds me of last year when I was in my most disgusting gardening mode yet, and my husband’s work friend and family showed up unexpectedly. I hadn’t met them before. I pleaded with my husband to let me stay in the backyard, and meet them another day. He insisted. This friend is Belgian and his wife and daughter look like supermodels. There I am; pants stretched out and hanging low, belly sweating, no makeup,muddy knees, humidity hair. My daughter told me afterwards, oh yeah, there was a green worm in your hair too.
    I saw these lovely, gracious people a month later at a banquet, I was cleaned up. The woman introduced herself and then realized she had already met me. Her shock was only barely disguised.

  8. Michele Owens says:

    Well, you made my morning, Amy!

    I hope you enjoy gardening, now that you’ve taken it up! It’s a really healthful activity.

  9. beachcomber says:

    A cautionary tale, for sure…..this could happen to any one of us.

  10. Oh, my … I am laughing so hard I can barely type. You are too funny! Glad you got the book done.~~Dee

  11. sara says:

    I love that the chickens were ‘helping’ with the weeding. Mine follow me around when they see I have pulled out the shovel. To them, shovel = easier access to worms. One of them takes rides on the wheelbarrow, too.

  12. Propagatrix says:

    Nice wellies!

  13. Just me says:

    Too funny! Made my day. Thanks for the smile.

  14. Paul Heidecker says:

    Nice, I felt like I was reading By the way, what do you use to keep pests off your plants and flowers? I’ve been using the organic Safer Brand insect killer since I don’t want nasty chemicals sprayed on my food. Here’s the Safer Brand Insect Killer for those organic buffs like me. Anyone use another organic pesticide?

  15. Jackie says:

    Thanks for making me smile, Amy!

  16. Steve says:

    I have been nearing those daffodil bulbs clearing their throats!

    We have sun here today in Santa Cruz Mountains too.

    0.o One of them just actually said something! “Get of my widening WHAT?”

    hmmmmm… last saw bulbs around Halloween…

  17. Steve says:

    Found the bulbs but had to sort recycling beverage containers* first.

    Only took an hour too.


    Thanks Amy, such an inspiration. And I don’t want no stinkin’ badges, er, ah, invoices.

  18. Also at The Allium: Internet-savvy gardener still dog-ears catalogs.

  19. Steve says:

    Cross-posted this to my Fb page!

  20. Jean says:

    Very good! And congrats on turning in the new book.

  21. susan harris says:

    Amy, what a treat when you can come up for air after a book and just have fun here – and give us all some fun, too.

  22. Judybusy says:

    Very funny! I bet it felt sooo good to get back in the garden. Did you really not go out there since last spring?

    A couple years ago, I brought over some curly willow twigs to a neighbor dressed in similar gear. Her roomate nearly called police. Rhonda, I also loved your story! We have a different neighbor that we affectionately call That Damn Nancy. Not only does her yard look beautiful, she’s also so damn cute when she’s working in it!

  23. Laura Bell says:

    This is why we all love Amy !

  24. Meredith says:

    Oh, you definitely gave me a laugh. Love this breaking news from the “Allium.” 😉

  25. Elizabeth Stump says:

    Having been a former regular reader of The Onion, I recommend you submit this one. This was a great parody, and fits the style perfectly!

  26. vicki says:


  27. Genevieve says:

    This rocks. The chickens and you look quite content. I don’t know how you garden with chickens underfoot, mine want to be right in whatever hole I’m digging and if I start a hole, I end up with three chickens inside it while I flap my arms ineffectively and say “go, on – scoot”. The lure of worms is too strong for them to pay any attention to me.

  28. Tibs says:

    My family would think I was dressed up if I wore that in the garden. I ran to the local nursury for one more plant when I was in full garden regalia. Other shoppers were asking me questions, thought I worked there. The staff was much cleaner.

  29. Hysterical! That will be me in a few months!

  30. Dottie Webb says:

    Hey wait–what “new book”?! (Did I miss a critical post over the holidays?!) Didn’t you just go on a stumping tour for Wicked Plants?!! Tell!!

  31. Eric in Maryland says:

    The “Onion” couldn’t have said it any better! –

  32. Cara says:

    Real life is always stranger than fiction. That’s a great tale to tell. Too funny!

  33. Wonderful post! Take comfort in the fact that you are well ahead of us Maryland gardeners. The ground is a bit solid these days. (And here I thought plaid was high-end fashion…)

  34. Heather says:

    New book? Hooray! What new book? And when?