Ministry Of Controversy

God, Guns and Gardens

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2008 NRA Convention in Louisville, KY.

I’ve run myself ragged the last few weeks. Kentucky has had the most beautiful spring I can remember. May has been rainy and cool. Blooms went on forever. The weeds got ahead of me, yet chiggers and heat didn’t crash my spring party.

But it became harder to avoid the hot air once the National Rifle Association came barreling into town last week.

I attended the NRA National Convention eight years ago when an estimated 60,000 gun enthusiasts last visited Louisville. I wrote a story about it on Julie Ardery’s Human Flower Project.

Back then, I didn’t run into any lunatics seeking antitank weaponry for home protection. But no one packing heat seemed interested in Dr. Martin’s pole lima beans, either.

Wolf Pen Mill in Prospect, KY.

An estimated 70,000 NRA members showed up in Louisville this year. Donald Trump, once an opponent of assault weapons, came to town, singing a different tune. The “impossible candidate” received the NRA endorsement for president and tossed the faithful a bone. Schoolyards should be armed, he said. There will be no gun-free zones when he is elected president.

Shame on you, Donald.

Trump is not a curious man. New York Times columnist David Brooks said, “He [Trump] doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out.” Hunters and gardeners are curious about the outdoors. You won’t hear Trump talk about nature or gardens.

This worries me.

Trillium grandiflorum at Whitehall in Louisville, KY.

My life and garden would be very dull if I gardened in the absence of nature. Kentucky’s beautiful woodlands are often surprising. I am always grateful when I stumble upon larkspur or woodland phlox along a narrow path. If I’m lucky I might see a white shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia. Sedum ternatum or Saxifraga virginiensis could be growing nearby on mossy, limestone ledges.

Larkspur (Delphinum tricorne) and Phlox divaricata in Salvisa, KY.


My garden is influenced by what I see in the wild. Donald should put on a hairnet and take a walk in the woods.


Saxifraga virginienis in Salvisa, KY.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, addressing the NRA this year, said, “There is a verse in scripture about the watchman on the wall … it doesn’t do any good if we see what’s coming if we don’t sound the alarm, if we don’t sound the trumpet, shame on us.”

His get-out-the-vote plea for the November elections was “heavy on religion and guns,” the Courier-Journal reported.

My aim is improving, but my .22 rifle will never save my soul.

Spring beauties, Claytonia virginica, in Lexington, KY.

Matt Bevin has his sights set on bigger political fortunes. He’s too scared to risk alienating the NRA, demanding a ban on assault weapons. Our governor could have talked about our sacred woodlands, too, but he didn’t.

The governor should man up and take a shot.

Salvisa, KY on May 23, 2016.

I don’t think all NRA members are bat-shit crazy. Most, I suspect, are sensible hunters and sportsmen who love the outdoors as much as I do.

Hunters track deer while I stalk spring beauties.

Posted by

Allen Bush
on May 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm, in the category Ministry of Controversy.


  1. I think I missed the point, Allen. Other people have other interests. You’re right, it doesn’t make them crazy, it just makes them different. Some are interested in both. Isn’t there a whole magazine titled Garden and Gun? I’ll leave Trump out of this discussion because he has no place in the garden, even one of whimsy.

  2. Aw, man. While I can relate to the frustration, gardening blogs are (were) the last place on the internet where I can count on NOT reading about Trump. Hope this isn’t a trend. 😉

  3. You can have my trowel when you pry it from my cold dead hand. No, seriously, you can have it. I hope to still be using it that day, but not the next. It’s a good trowel.

  4. To be a gardener you must seek light. There are no gatherings in dark concrete boxes, where tools of death are the number one seller (nope, no Proven Winners here). A gardener wins respect by working with their hands and being quiet in order to fully enjoy the fruit of your labor and all that nature has to offer. I am sorry your world had to endure this invasive species last week.

  5. Coffee, a couple eggs, my garden and a little witty Garden Rant on hort subjects are all I need in the mornings to start the day well and eventually/reluctantly face the daily election year barrage on all other media sources. Please no politics – I’m trying to keep my breakfast down. Had to go back to the video of Felder to decompress.

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