First off, that title well describes me, but that’s not what I mean.
No, I just found the columns that I wrote for publication almost 40 years ago. Back then, I was on the Cornell Entomology faculty, having responsibilities for ornamental plants, both nursery crops and woody ornamentals, when I was approached by a friend from Cornell’s Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture asking if I would consider writing something for the monthly edition of the New York State Flower Industries Bulletin. I said “Sure. Why not?”, and began to submit some insect-related writings each month, obviously targeted towards the floricultural industry in New York State.
Those who know me will recall I’ve had a long avocation of playing banjo and guitar, and I was smitten at the time by a tune I had recently learned called Beasties in the Sugar, so I borrowed heavily, and titled my fledgling column Beasties on the Blossoms.
Unlike this blog, Beasties on the Blossoms had a real deadline, so I was honestly pretty good about getting it written on a timely basis, and kept at it from 1980 until I left Cornell for a job in industry in 1982.
About a year after my leaving, I was approached by the editor of Floral & Nursery Times to see if I would be willing to write a similar column for that publication. I agreed (especially as I was to be paid this time!), and some phone calls resulted in my getting permission from Cornell and the N.Y.S.F.I. to continue use of the Beasties on the Blossoms title, as well as this graphic that Cornell had designed for my use, as I hated the thought of having my picture on every column I wrote.
So Beasties on the Blossoms continued for another few years. I was also approached to write columns for Greenhouse Manager magazine and later for Florists’ Review, which was–and apparently still is–the premier publication for the floricultural industry. My association with the former was very brief, owing to artistic differences: I didn’t want my photo used with my column, Beasties Under Glass, and they insisted, so we parted company. My column for the latter, My Favorite Pests, had a photo at their insistence that all their columnists had photos and a signature, and they would make no exceptions. As the pay was good, and I didn’t want to turn down what was a major publication in the industry, I had a photo taken of me and one of my pets:
So what brings this all up? As I found a bunch of original pages and photocopies of most of my my columns, I have set about digitizing them for my family. Because, you know, Google just doesn’t find them! Isn’t that amazing? And, since I’m scanning them, I figured I might be able to use some here. After all, I had fun with them, made a (very) little bit of money, and enough people enjoyed them that I was not only encouraged to continue, but got a bunch of speaking engagements from them!
Herewith, my inaugural Beasties on the Blossoms column (click to enlarge):