The Wall Street Journal is a wonderful newspaper. I've been a subscriber for the better part of four decades. In that time, I've watched it evolve from the best business newspaper around to an incredibly good general interest paper. If it carried today's TV listings, Arlo and Janis, and the Thursday supermarket flyers, I could readily dispense with at least one of the other papers that land at the end of my driveway.
Gardening articles are a relatively recent addition to the Journal's repertoire but the paper has taken on the subject with a seriousness and dedication that is admirable. I've seen garden-specific articles from at least three reporters; none of the reporting is of the 'me too' variety.
A few weeks back, I dropped Ann Marie Chaker a congratulatory note on an article she had written about xeric landscapes. The next day, I had not only a reply, but Ms. Chaker said she had scrolled through this blog and noted the June 14 entry on our 'utility easement'. She said she was getting ready to write on what she called 'hell strips' and would my wife be available for a few minutes to talk about ours?
That 'few minutes' turned into a 45-minute-long conversation that begat a second call of almost equal duration (plus a brief one to verify quotes), plus a visit by a photographer. The result appears this morning; here is a link to the first page and the second page of the article.
What is most gratifying about the article isn't that Ms. Chaker gets everything 'right' (although she does). Instead, it is that Betty is just one source among more than a dozen quoted in the article. I cannot imagine the total number of hours spent on the article. Dedication to good journalism doesn't get any better.
So, my hat is off to the Journal and to Ann Marie Chaker. A job amazingly well done.