There are many positive interactions between a newspaper and a garden. Stressful current events come at you more slowly when you read them on paper in natural daylight, while the peace and calm of the garden provide another focus when you need to stop and regain composure, so often the case these days. Raise your eyes from the paper, look out across the garden, admire your handiwork, and muse on what to do next. The garden is a place you can always do something about.
Sunday is the best day for this, actual news being confined to one section. Among the other sections you can read about gardens to visit, find reviews of gardening books, see photos of garden parties in rich people’s back yards, and maybe find a few ads for useful things to wear or use while gardening. Apart from all that, you can read the Sunday Times for the quality of the writing. Felicitous phrases abound. How can you not love reading that morning people are “firing up coffeepots at an hour usually reserved for mating fruit bats.”
And then you get to the prize at the bottom of the Crackerjack box: the crossword puzzle. In especially lucky weeks you get the acrostic, too.
When you finish extracting information from the paper, you can put it to one more use. Take the paper, a bucket of water, and a wheelbarrow full of mulch out to the next area where you’d like to kill a swath of weeds or grass, lay the paper three or
four sheets thick right over the weedy grassy whatever, water it from the bucket so it doesn’t blow around, and spread the mulch on top about three inches thick. With a nice big paper like the Sunday New York Times you can cover a lot of ground. Nothing will grow up through it. It’s satisfying to see facts stamping out chaos.