Sally Mullins

Although many of us are still staying home and working around the children’s school schedules, there is, unfortunately, a problem I need to comment on right off.

My friend’s grandmother just passed away and she was all alone. She had cancer and COPD and although she never had the virus, her stay in the hospital was directly affected by it.

Before she passed away, she spent 3 weeks with no visitors, in the hall on a gurney because there were no beds due to the virus. I will not go into detail, but suffice it to say it is an unpleasant tale that shows how the virus is affecting us in many different ways.

I have heard folks say it has a 99-percent cure rate, so it’s not so bad. The bottom line is this virus is not over and will be in our lives one way or another, for a long time and you never know how your actions will impact on your friends and family or on someone else’s.

This is a time to consider others by wearing masks and keeping your distance. True, it will not last forever, but it is in full force now and we need to help each other get through it the best way possible.

Thanksgiving will be here very soon and thanks to the virus, most of us will not be spending it in the usual family gatherings. It’s good to remember that neither will the lady down the road or the seniors in town.

This has not been the best year for having a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to share. Baking and sharing a pie or some cupcakes will give you and your children a good feeling. Many times just mowing the grass or raking some leaves for someone can mean more than you know.

A couple rooted plants or a small potted plant could give someone who is feeling depressed, a smile and a little lift. Lending a book (that you’ve wiped) is another way to connect.

From my point of view, losing that contact with friends and neighbors is the worst thing these days. The Internet and phones are ways to keep in touch, but we all need that face-to-face interaction.

I am not talking about spending the day together or going out to eat, just short “hello, how are you doing” chats with a mask and social distancing are better than nothing.

We are all in this together and it pains me to see everyone becoming more and more out of touch every day. Recently I saw a picture of some neighborhood children taking homemade pictures they’d drawn with crayons to a woman on their street. They were used to seeing her out in her yard all summer and decided to make some art for her refrigerator so she didn’t forget them.

Needless to say, she was quite moved by that. So talk to your children and see if you can make someone’s life a little brighter.

Most grocery stores have “buy one, get one free” promotions and someone commented how nice it would be if you only needed one, and gave the free one to someone who could use it. I had never thought of that, but it seems like a nice thing to do.

OK, hopping off the soapbox, but I hope you have been given something to think about.

It has been unseasonably warm and we have gotten a lot taken care of in the yard. I cleaned underneath the hellebores and got them ready for winter blooms. There was new growth popping up when all the leaves were removed.

I should give some thought to fertilizing them next year. There are always some things you feel can be left till spring, but you know in your heart when spring rolls around, you’ll be happier if you’ve already done them.

The naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera) were very lax in their flower display this year, so they are getting some soil mixed with potassium this week. That will give the greenery and bulbs an extra boost.

Then, when the new growth dies down next year, they‘ll get some fertilizer high in phosphorus to help with flower production. At least that’s the plan, we shall see what happens next August.

There are always leftover chemicals from the garden and they need to be stored appropriately. Store all chemicals away from food, out of the reach of children and where temperatures will not fall below 40 degrees.

If they’re in paper containers, put the entire package in a plastic container and seal it. Make sure all cans and bottles are well labeled and tightly closed. Should liquid chemicals freeze, the chemical composition will break down and there’s always danger of glass containers breaking and chemicals spreading everywhere.

So, either dispose of them now or make certain they don’t freeze. Actually, it’s best to dispose of all leftover garden pesticides and fertilizers at the end of every gardening year and to only buy what you can use in one season next year.


Questions can be left at the Hampshire Review office or emailed to me at Please put “gardening” in the subject box and leave a phone number so I can get back to you if necessary.

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