Wednesday, August 15, 2007

between a red wagon and the stratosphere

Wayne Stratz at Rhoads Gardens on 202
On Saturday my neighbor asks, "Do you have room for 20 perennials?"

On this I can answer with certainty. "Yes and many more."

But what about the time to plant them. Well it is Wednesday now and I just got done planting numbers 12 through 16.

Three cheers for Rhoads Gardens in North Wales. Last year we discovered their red wagon sale. Its how they dump off perennials at the end of the season on people such as I. I got twenty for fifty dollars. I have also been trying to give my garden a good soaking. It hasn't been too dry this summer so I think it has been limping along and when I have watered; it has not been deeply. I know better and I should have heard the garden speaking to me. It did finally get my attention.

On the way into Rhoads, M caught the name of the perennial by my left arm. Stratospheres was the variety of this Gaura . Well that takes me way back and into the present. Most of my nicknames have centered around my last name, for there is not much one can do with Wayne. At my first college, I was nicknamed Stratospheres because of Springsteen's line about taking month long vacations there, then Stratos. I guess my friend saw me as "a cosmic kid in full costume dress." Not exactly the proudest moments of my life and when the college asked me to leave, I had no choice and left Stratos behind me in Grove City. So now I deem myself Stratoz with a z, for I always liked the nickname, but not my behaviors at the time. The z is important reminder of how one can change radically.

So who knows where we are all headed. 25 years ago I was lost in the stratosphere, 10 years ago I didn't go to church, 8 years ago I didn't even own a house plant, and now my heart leaps for joy when the red wagon is full.

looking down at the red wagon


  1. My brother's name was Wayne. When he went into the Navy, he switched, for whatever reason to his middle appellation of "Phil". I never could make the adjustment and he didn't seem to mind.

    In the Navy I was nicknamed "Rat". There's a story to go with that one. Maybe I'll blog about it sometime. For reasons already explained, though, I prefer to use Wayne in our communications, my friend, and hope you take no objection. "Stratoz" is a label for your blog, an identity that was mystery until now. Your gardening abilities, a talent I wished I possessed....

  2. Jim- Calling me Wayne is just fine. It means "wagon maker." There aren't many Waynes in this world. Last year I had my first student named Wayne. It was quite baffling.


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