Friday, July 12, 2013

The "Blessing of Weeds" and goodbye to being a Master Gardener

Here's my latest piece for Natural Awakenings magazine, in which I look at the bright side of "The Curse:"

As a side note related to this article... I am no longer a Florida Master Gardener. My articles for Natural Awakenings have to run through the local Ag. Extension before publication. In the past, this hasn't been a big deal - though I have rankled over the fact that negative references to evil corporations and herbicides/pesticides have been excised from my articles. However, in this article, I quoted the Bible... when it returned from the Extension, the verses had been snipped.

Editing out negative references to your corporate buddies is one thing; editing out a Scripture quote is another. So far as I know, the Old Testament isn't illegal yet - whereas Dow AgroSciencese "Grazon" should be.

Fortunately, I'm friends with the publisher of Natural Awakenings. She urged me to go ahead and send my articles directly and say sayonara to the MGs.

Part of me hates to say goodbye. I'm not just leaving because of having my articles edited, I'm also leaving because I don't have enough time to volunteer - and because Master Gardeners aren't allowed to say they're "Master Gardeners" and make a profit at the same time. Now that I own a nursery, that's a tough restriction. Additionally, I picked up a quantity of new information when I first started, but soon realized that my interests went beyond most of my comrades in the program.

To my friends in the program - thank you for a wonderful couple of years. I enjoyed the friendship, the cuttings, the conversations and the laughs.

I'll remember you all fondly, even as I voyage out on my own. You'll do fine without me.



At July 12, 2013 at 7:13 AM , Blogger jean said...

I like your ending at the post with the sinking Titanic, er, Master Gardener ship program. No doubt, it is the program, your friends, gardeners, and Natural Awakenings that will suffer the loss. Too bad the magazine didn't see the value in the Lord's part in all His creation, which is really all of it. This is the way of the dark world we live in. However, you have the light and no one can take that away. Use it to His glory and just keep on gardening away. We appreciative gardeners will look forward to more posts from you. Bible verses and all.

At July 12, 2013 at 7:16 AM , Blogger jean said...

I read your article. We also noticed how the bees and butterflies congregate among the weeds in the fields. And, we leave plenty weed clumps around to keep them fed and happy. Which in turn, gives us pollination, food and honey.

At July 12, 2013 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Leon said...

I'd think you're still allowed to call yourself Master Gardener (Ret.) ... or "MG in exile" :)

I can see their point in editing out the Bible quotes though. I'm fine when people do that but there are some religions out there that I wouldn't touch with a 10-ft pole. If MGs allow you to quote your Holy Book they must allow everybody to do the same, right? Next thing you know you're reading quotes from Mein Kampf or worse in a garden magazine.

There is no excuse for editing out warnings about stuff that kills people and makes them sick, though.

At July 12, 2013 at 8:57 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

"If MGs allow you to quote your Holy Book they must allow everybody to do the same, right? Next thing you know you're reading quotes from Mein Kampf or worse in a garden magazine."

Well, unlike many books, the Bible does have a lot on gardening. It begins and ends with references to agroforestry. It's also the basis of much of Western Civilization, unlike Mein Kampf and its ilk.

Though, you know.... if Mein Kampf had a good section on growing turnips or making sauerkraut...

At July 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Actually - the magazine DID see the value. I'm still with Natural Awakenings, just directly, rather than through the extension.

At July 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM , Blogger Knotty Pots said...

I've never seen the value in becoming a Master Gardener, anyhow. it doesn't grant you more land or free seeds... just bragging rights? As if i don't have enough bragging rights now anyway.
Although, like anything else, i'm sure it has value for some others.
i can see why they edited the scripture. separation of church and state, yo!

At July 12, 2013 at 1:34 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

The so-called separation of church and state was instituted to protect the church FROM the state, not to keep religion from the public sphere. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Nothing to do with quoting texts - they were simply off-base.

As for being an MG, yeah. Just bragging rights. I thought I'd get a lot more out of it.

At July 12, 2013 at 10:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised those verses were a problem--their usage strikes me as very non-sectarian; I could even imagine an atheist writing about weeds using them in the same way. People can be a little hysterical about religious references these days, obviously.

Hopefully this was the kick that will move you onto something bigger and better.

At July 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM , Blogger SlowBro said...

Agreed. If you carefully consider the content of the First Amendment as well as the Founder's comments about it, you'll see it was never intended to be used as a gag on people, only the government. Indeed, if you read the (private) letter where Jefferson (writing in private!) first coined the phrase "separation of church and state" you'll also understand the intent.

But then again the Constitution is only man's word. The Bible is God's Word, and I'm very pleased you made the MG sacrifice so that you could share that Word.

At July 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Thanks Chris - you're right on. And... thanks for stopping by.

At July 17, 2013 at 1:11 PM , Blogger SlowBro said...

I may stop by more often. Am in Jacksonville so your tips will be similar.

At July 18, 2013 at 8:27 PM , Blogger Knotty Pots said...

they are a 'club' formed by a government funded agency. of course they could not allow any scripture to be associated with them. it only takes one moron to assume that all master gardeners are christian, and thus all must hate jews, because they read a piece about gardening written by a christian master gardener. it just takes one idiot to spoil a good thing, i guess. i would make a firefighter joke here, but this might be the wrong venue... :)

At July 18, 2013 at 8:37 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Hey... I quoted from the Torah! Oy vey!

At July 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Here's what really makes their stance hypocritical: in the demonstration gardens, someone built a "bottle tree" this last year.

So... spiritualistic paganism is cool... but not the Bible? Demons but not the KJV? Never mind the fact they also say the Pledge of Allegiance and sometimes... open... meetings... WITH A PRAYER OF INVOCATION! OMG OMG OMG

At July 19, 2013 at 6:46 AM , Blogger SlowBro said...

Further, a private individual just mentioning (for example) a verse from the Koran in a government publication is entirely different from Congress making a law respecting an establishment of a religion. This is why the founders were not being hypocritical for holding lengthy prayer sessions while writing the constitution.

This just in: George Washington exhumed, found rolled over. (Stolen gratuitously from TomInTheBox)

At September 8, 2013 at 11:48 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I enjoyed your article. It's a shame the "Master Gardeners" don't want to recognize the true Master Gardener, God. They wouldn't be here and able to do what they do if not for Him. Keep up the good works and thank you for the blessing of the information. I will look at weeds in a different light now as I go pulling them out of my garden.

At September 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Thank you, Elizabeth.

At September 15, 2014 at 1:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to leaving the Master Gardeners behind. I used to work as a horticulturist for a seed catalog and the Master Gardeners were the customer service calls I least liked because no matter what advise I told them, I was wrong and they were right. I have a Master's Degree and almost 35 years of gardening experience. I'm not the new kid on the block. =)

At September 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Hehhehheh. Yeah, having an MG certificate = INCREDIBLE POWER!


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