By Lynne Irons>

How about that Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Nice to know he is still getting the popular vote. I listened to his acceptance speech. He told an African proverb. “If you want to go somewhere quickly, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”

I’m wild about the Italian white sunflower. It is almost closer to cosmos in habit than to sunflowers. There is an enormous patch of them at the big turn coming down Clevelandtown Road heading for Morning Glory Farm. The Katama General Store also has a small grouping of them out front. I love that they are still looking splendid and here it is halfway through October.

Even though I am a maniac about dead-heading, I cannot bear to cut spent sunflowers until the little birds have removed all the seeds. The goldfinches are particularly adorable hanging upside down off a big sunflower head.

I like to grow the yellow garden cosmos. They are true cosmos, not to be confused with the Bright Lights or Diablo varieties. They are short-day dependant and do not begin blooming until after the equinox. Do not bother if you live in one of our infamous frost pockets. The rest of us, however, can really enjoy these late-blooming annuals along with gazania and osteospermum.

In the perennial bed, if you can still find it after some weeks of neglect, try to notice the baby hollyhocks and foxgloves. They can be moved now to a new location if you wish.

Speaking of location, did you know that the average American drives 25 minutes to work every day? That adds up to nine days a year in a car! Time to move or get a different job?

The fall colors are so subtle here. The fall of my childhood was incredibly colorful in western Pennsylvania. Try to keep up, I am going to tie this all together. NPR had a segment on breast cancer. Some scientists had taken blood samples from archival records of young girls born between 1945 and 1965. Many of them had been exposed to DDT before it was banned in 1972. Those girls grew up and had a high incidence of breast cancer.

Several of my friends remember following the pesticide truck, playing in the spray. I did not remember that experience but called my mother to jog my memory. We talked about fall in Rew, Pa. in the 1950s. We children in town would build great “punky smudges.” These were bonfires on which we threw wet leaves and grass clippings. We then stood in the resulting smoke until our clothing reeked. It would keep the mosquitoes away so we could resume our nightly kick-the-can game.

Poke berries are poisonous although beautiful this time of year. They look great in an arrangement with some bittersweet, Tardiva hydrangea and Virginia creeper. Oh! About bittersweet: if you do not want it growing all over your property, bag up that arrangement for the rubbish bin as those beautiful berries will take root in your compost pile.

Last week’s Sunday school lesson was how to tell if you are a millionaire. It’s not how much you have but how little you want.