Gardening Matters

Well, I guess I’ve always known this day would come. That doesn’t mean I must like it. It is with great reluctance that I must tell you that this will be my final column of Gardening Matters.

Writing this started out as an experiment. I had never done any writing for publication. Certainly, not for publication to 24,000 of my nearest and dearest neighbors. I was not at all sure that my blathering would find a welcome reception with my fellow Dunwoodians.

It turned out that you warmly accepted my writing, encouraged me with the occasional complimentary email, and helped me find topics with your questions and news items you sent me. It turns out that authoring Gardening Matters is as much fun as I ever had with my clothes on. And I thank you all for all the kind words you have passed on to me.

I am not leaving my days as a columnist behind out of any dissatisfaction or pique, but rather because I am taking up a new adventure that will keep me busy enough for two people. At this late date in my life (age 70 next year) I have decided to go back to school and study for a Master’s degree, and perhaps a Ph.D., in history. Georgia State University was good enough/foolish enough (pick one) to allow me to enroll in their graduate program this year.

It has been fully 40 years since I engaged in any serious academic studies. I generally enjoyed it then and seriously hope I will enjoy it again. The professors I have met at Georgia State all seem quite welcoming to a new student who is well above most of them in age. I am not ready to declare an area of specialization yet. I’d like to get a couple of classes under my belt before I commit to anything. I expect that I will find my niche somewhere in British or American history of the 18th or 19th Century. Of course, I have been tempted to focus on modern American History since I was awake and present for most of it, but I am open to anything that encourages my passion for history.

I plan to continue gardening at my home and to venture out with my fellow Master Gardeners occasionally. If you see me digging in the dirt beside the road or wandering glassy-eyed down the aisles at Pike’s stop and say hello. And I will always be happy to help someone with questions if I can.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Dick Williams, the Editor and Chief Bottle Washer at The Crier, for his generosity in allowing me to fill a portion of his newspaper and for editing out my more obvious spelling and grammatical errors.

Thank you all for so many kindnesses and your support during these last eight years.

Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 35 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive. He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group. He can be reached at

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