Leslie Cox has been discovering many varieties of fungi during her walks this year. Photo by Leslie Cox

Leslie Cox has been discovering many varieties of fungi during her walks this year. Photo by Leslie Cox

DUCHESS OF DIRT: Christmas wishes from the Cox home to yours

Leslie Cox

Special to The Record

All I want for Christmas is…

A robotic weeder. Wait! What? Is this a “thing”?

Yes. Apparently, it really is a thing. And, according to the manufacturer’s literature, it professes to deal with those unsightly weeds efficiently for the gardener so he or she does not ever need to dirty their hands again.

What? A gardener with clean hands? Now, who has ever heard of such a phenomenon? I thought the whole point of being a gardener was to get your hands dirty on purpose.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand if weeding is not your “thing.” And that is okay. Gardening is one of those occupations where you have total license to do as you like… as long as you do not plant invasive species and never, ever place hot pink flowers right next to blazing orange ones. Not without handing out sunglasses to your visitors, at least.

But I cannot see putting a robot weeder on my wish list. Mainly because my landscape design does not adhere to straight lines and I would be too afraid of the automatic weeder taking out a prize plant or two. And heaven forbid if it should accidentally run over my ‘Panda Face’ ginger which is finally coming into its own after about five or six years.

What I did put on my wish list is a book on fungi. I have been noticing some really fascinating ones on our daily walks with Sadie. Round ones, stick ones, flat ones, white ones, brown ones, yellow ones. Even saw a large patch of what looked like a perfectly flat orange growth running up one side of a tree trunk.

I have also been paying more attention to lichens. Did you know lichens – which are not a fungus – are responsible for breaking down rocks into small particles? It takes a long time but imagine. Something that lies incongruously on a large rock is secretly releasing an acid strong enough to erode a rock-solid object. (Pun intended.) Totally amazing.

Nature is truly incredible, but also scary. It has produced this coronavirus which is wreaking havoc worldwide. Christmas is supposed to be the season for goodwill and good cheer. A time to be kind to one another and celebrate family, friends. But COVID-19 is preventing us from enjoying some of our usual traditions.

And yet, in spite of all the hardships and restrictions, there has been kindness, thoughtfulness, a willingness to keep extended family, friends and strangers alike safe. For the most part.

I think this year is one for trying out new traditions. Some people, I have heard, will be sharing Christmas dinner with family via Zoom or FaceTime. This is at least one instance when technology will prove to be a godsend. We plan to use FaceTime so we can watch the grandkids open their gifts.

In the words of Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens.” So true.

I think this year is teaching us new ways of doing all manner of things. It has been a tough year with much heartache, pain and suffering. But many people are stepping up and accepting these new challenges. We have to. If it is one thing gardening has taught me, Mother Nature is much bigger than us. We will just have to wait this pandemic out.

John, Sadie and I extend warm wishes to everyone for a very Merry Christmas and pray you will heed Dr. Henry’s advice to “be kind, be calm and be safe.” There is much hope for life to be a little better in 2021.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca

gardening

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From left - Rev. Sulin Milne, rector of St Peter’s, Karen Cummins and Bill Henderson of Nature Comox Valley pose for a photo with the newly-planted Garry oak tree. Photo supplied
Young Garry oak planted at St. Peter’s church gardens as a sign of resiliency

By Tony Reymolds Special to The Record St Peter’s Anglican Church, Comox,… Continue reading

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Co-ordinator/founder David Clarke, right, is pictured with members of Comox Valley Street Outreach during Monday’s rig dig. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley group aims to stop overdose deaths, reduce stigma

As the overdose crisis worsens throughout B.C., a local advocacy group is… Continue reading

London Drugs now taking COVID-19 bookings. Screenshot, London Drugs
Courtenay London Drugs now taking COVID-19 bookings

A number of locations in Western Canada selected to give vaccine

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Wildfire burning in remote area near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating cause, but confirms it is human-caused

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Most Read