Monday, May 14, 2012

A Plea

        Ann Raver, please come home.  We miss your regular column in The New York Times; the recent occasional pieces are too far flung for us. The article on Peckerwood, John Fairey’s garden in Texas, while of interest to gardeners in the parched Southwest, simply does resonate with us here in the Northeast.  We know what the Times is up to, but by positioning itself as a national newspaper it has ceded the base to the Daily News.  Although the Times is published in New York, it is no longer about New Yorkers. 

Ann, we loved you when you lived and gardened on the edge of a salt marsh on Long Island.  We followed you to your Brooklyn walk-up where you gardened on the roof, lugging soil and plants and pots up and down all those flights of stairs.

Although we are hopelessly provincial here, we followed you happily to the family farm in Maryland and watched with growing sadness the aging and loss of your parents.  We rejoiced when you found a boyfriend to help with the heavy lifting, in every sense of the word. But we cannot follow you to Mr. Fairey’s garden in Texas.  The landscape is too alien, and the story too long. 

Long-windedness seems to be the Times style these days, which brings me to your presumptive (but not to us) successor, Michael Tortorello.  He stunned readers this week with about 1700 words on sunflowers of all things, with an additional sidebar of 400 words, as though we had not had enough already. 

A model of economy is Robin Lane Fox (900 or so words) in the Financial Times on Saturdays.  A few weeks ago he wrote about the ban on watering gardens in London and proposed the option of allowing families to water their spinach, providing they peed collectively into a single toilet and flushed only once a day.  How’s that for style and substance?

Unfortunately, I have no photographs of you or your garden to accompany my plea on this page.  I have no address for you.  We have never met and I don’t know how to find you.  I don’t know if this will ever reach you, but if it does please come home, Ann Raver.  We all miss you.

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