WARNING: Be on the lookout for Jack the Nipper
There are a lot of “Jacks” that Grumpy likes including “jumping Jack flash”, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” and, of course, actor and comedian, Jack Black. But, when it comes to this time of year and Grumpy’s garden, he completely detests that guy know as JACK FROST. He’s the guy you sing about at Christmas. You know the one that’s “nipping at your nose” while “your chestnuts are roasting on an open fire.”
Well I say, “Nuts to that!”
Jack Frost is persona non grata and totally unwanted in my garden.
By C.E. Pike
Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!|
He’s after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The happy little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.
He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.
To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.
Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.
The reality, of course is that Jack Frost is a serial killer bent on the extermination of all emerging plants. Unlike the poem, he stalks through Grumpy’s garden like “Jack the Ripper” but, in this case, he’s more prone to be “Jack the Nipper”. His cold fingers “burn” those succulent leaves as if he’s carrying a fiery torch.
The little bugger may think this is all in good fun but for Grumpy it delivers setbacks to his virtual Eden that inevitably cause veins to pop out on his forehead – big throbbing ones.
One Wikipedia article characterized our Jack thus, “as a mischief-making spirit, carefree and happiest when he can behave as he pleases. With no obligations, he is able to flourish.”
Heck, that’s what Grumpy thought retirement was all about but, apparently not, because family responsibilities and his burgeoning garden keep the old guy running on a treadmill 24/7. There is no “flourishing” for Grumpy within the confines of Grumpy Villa, especially when frost is in the forecast.
Damn you, Jack Frost.
Take these past few days, for instance. The night time temperature has hovered around 0 C and the nights have been partially clear. The words – FROST WARNING – are broadcast everywhere, on the television, on weather websites and in print.
No one wants to go out in the morning and see, “the foliage of certain plants exhibiting frost damage by appearing water-soaked and dark-green, turning black in time.” The outcome is usually leaf scorch, browning and even total plant death.
Of course, there are many things a gardener can do to prevent frost damage.
For example, you can cover those susceptible plants with newspaper or large pots. But, you’ve seen Grumpy’s gardens and know this would be an impossible task. He doesn’t have thousands of large pots at his disposal. His garden is too expansive. Bending over that many times would put Grumpy in traction.
Another trick is to get out there and spray water on the plants to raise the temperature enough to prevent freezing. The trouble is that when the temperature is that low Grumpy’s hose is frozen solid too, feeling like an anchor cable in his hands and blocked by icebergs such that a mere dribble emerges from the spout.
Drip, drip, drip will not prevent the nip!
And, his hands themselves become frozen to the point that sense of touch is impossible and the pain is incredible. Grumpy’s “dropsy” becomes epidemic, of course, while all the while he is tripping over that solidified hose he’s dragging around. Eventually, the night air turns blue with curses and complaints.
Damn you, Jack Frost.
Another gardening article had this suggestion regarding frost damage.
“Do not automatically give up on a plant that has been frost damaged. Many plants can be surprisingly resilient and may well rejuvenate from dormant buds at or below soil level. This takes time so recovery may not be seen until early summer.”
Ya, right! That’s when we in Norfolk start to experience summer drought. Drought season begins just about the time frost season ends. Old Grumpy, with hose in hand, attempts to nourish those recovering brown tinged plants before they wilt into paper thin crispy critters.
This gardening thing is a never ending battleground folks.
So, once again, tonight Grumpy will be on the lookout for Jack Frost. There is another FROST WARNING in effect.
The secret to the endurance of Grumpy’s Garden is really its diversity. He has planted so many plants and built so many gardens that Jack Frost often gives up and moves on to more susceptible environs.
Take that Jack Frost. You are done like dinner.
Nonetheless, Grumpy thinks that children have a better appreciation for “Jack the Nipper” though. They take a more humorous approach. Here’s a few of
their Jack Frost jokes.
Who is Jack Frost’s favorite aunt?
What does Jack Frost eat for breakfast?
How does Jack Frost get around town?
Where does Jack Frost keep his money?
In a snow bank
What happened when the icicle fell on Jack Frost’s head?
It knocked him out cold.
What does Jack Frost take when he gets sick? A chill pill.
And so on!
Stay classy, my friends.