BUZZY: And we’re back. For those of you just joining us, this is PlanTalk on MPR, Mississippi Public Radio. MPR: 51st of 50 states in per-capita public broadcasting funding when you count Puerto Rico, DC, or Guam. I’m your host, Horace “Buzzy” Dickens, and you may recall that we’d just received a call when we were forced to do a station break in order to curry favor with our very few advertisers.

JACOB: Am I on?

BUZZY: Yessir, as you can probably tell from the absolutely epic levels of radio feedback we’re getting. You’re on the air with PlanTalk, and I will go ahead and ask you to turn off any radio you have in the background out of respect for our listeners’ eardrums. They have to listen to my voice already; the least we can do is not torture them with any other sounds that are higher on the pain scale.

JACOB: Hi, Buzzy, my name is Jacob Washington, and I have a question about my plants. I’m having a devil of a time getting the goddamn things to grow, and it’s making me real goddamn frustrated.

BUZZY: Hi there Jacob. Don’t be alarmed by that sound; that was the click of dozens, perhaps hundreds of pearls being clutched in unison by our listeners at your language. But it does give me an insight as to what your problem might be.

JACOB: Oh, sorry. It just slipped out.

BUZZY: Perhaps someday soon we’ll be able to afford a tape delay to bleep you, but today is not that day and tomorrow ain’t looking good either. Let me ask you, though, Mr. Washington: do you swear at your plants?

JACOB: I beg your pardon?

BUZZY: Your plants. You mentioned having trouble getting them to grow. Does that frustration find an outlet in cussing?

JACOB: Well, yes. I get pretty frustrated, so I do swear a little.

BUZZY: Do you call them names? Opine on their recent ancestry from common garden weeds, be that real or imagined? Bring up the cuss bus, fully loaded mind you, and open the door shouting ‘end of the line?’

JACOB: Yeah, I guess.

BUZZY: Well, you see, there’s your problem, son. Your average perennial or annual is not going to be suited, temperamentally or otherwise, to the bevy of sailor-talk that your average Mississippian is capable of unloading. For as anyone who has ever lived here can tell you, our famous civility and hospitality is but a thin rind over a gooey center of pure cussedness.

JACOB: Really? Wow. So do I need to tell them that they’re good plants, pretty plants, stuff like that?

BUZZY: Well, are they?

JACOB: No, sir. They are the ugliest things on the goddamned earth, and when they’re not too busy dying they grow thick and ugly in all the wrong places.

BUZZY: Well then, Mr. Washington, to tell them that they are good plants would be a falsehood. The Good Book is pretty clear about the utterance of falsehoods, ain’t it? And, more to the point, plants are smarter than most folks give them credit for. They’ll know you’re lying.

JACOB: What do I do then?

BUZZY: What you need, Mr. Washington, is some shade-loving plants. It seems to be a given, if you don’t mind me extrapolating, that you’re going to heap verbal abuse on anything and everything in your garden. So why not buy some plants that will take the shade you’re throwing, as the kids say, and soaks it up? Why, with the proper shade-loving plants, you could cuss yourself a secret garden where love may one day grow.

JACOB: Oh, that would be nice. What kind of plants?

BUZZY: Well, kudzu is the obvious choice, growing fat as it does off the misery of humans, livestock, and its fellow plants. But it’s not for novice gardeners, so I’d suggest instead some fudgewort, greater effweed, and–if you can find it–some old-growth savanna acaciawood.

JACOB: So, are you making all that up, or…?

BUZZY: I’m afraid it’s time for another station break. You’re listening to PlanTalk on MPR.

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