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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – December 5

A popular phrase in the past was, “The camera doesn’t lie.” Now, thanks to Photoshop, video editing and the internet, the camera lies all the time. Pictures can be doctored (did the tropical hibiscus really have that many flowers on that small plant all at the same time?) and photos or videos can live on and on, being passed around for years.

I recently saw two postings on facebook that, when I did a brief Google search on each topic, proved to be both old and mislabeled or now untrue. This reminds me of the many garden myths that continue to be passed from one person to the next. No one means any harm in all of this…sometimes those photos and videos are amusing, and we’re just trying to help our fellow gardeners or neighbors, after all.

Still, those old or blatantly false facebook postings or emails just get people riled up for no good reason. They take our time and energy away from truly productive directions. The same is true of garden myths.

Those who believe that moss in the lawn means that you need to lime will spend money and time applying a product that will be ineffective and may be unnecessary. People who think that oak and pine needles make soil more acidic might go to lengths to needlessly remove those from their gardens. And yet these two falsehoods continue to be repeated, continually leading folks astray.

If something comes your way in an email or on facebook, take a minute to check its veracity. And when someone gives you lawn or garden advise, confirm the validity of this recommendation before you either act on it or pass it on.

Proceeding on autopilot, or being too lazy to check the facts, makes everyone dumber. There are some things that shouldn’t be propagated.

Moss grows best on compact soil and in moist, shady situations. If any of these exist, moss will thrive no matter what the pH of the soil is.

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