I've just read "As the Season Turns" (Plant Life, Sept. 30), and want to say thank you to Valerie Easton for so sensibly sharing the good...

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Harvesting the joys of gardening

I’ve just read “As the Season Turns” (Plant Life, Sept. 30), and want to say thank you to Valerie Easton for so sensibly sharing the good things about gardening and letting your wide audience share those things that gave you joy.

I’m an enthusiastic reader of gardening and have almost managed to shake off the guilt of working in my garden only as long as I want to and only as hard as I feel like!

I think I do a good job of enjoying the good things, and I certainly get a huge amount of pleasure when something turns out right. An unexpected happy mix of plants; the satisfaction of an impressive display of early crocuses; or the smug feeling of being useful when passers-by stop and smile at the late-winter brightness when the hellebores are showing off.

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So, thank you for permission to take delight in the highlights and to (although you didn’t say this) ruthlessly put the mistakes and the muddles behind us. Each year is a new year in gardening, and those of us who like surprises are enjoying the right hobby.

50 alliums, eh? I’m underachieving!

Thank you again — and I hope you get as much pleasure from your writing as I, and many others, do.

— Jan Butterfield, Redmond

There’s something about Lake Washington

Tyrone Beason’s piece on Lake Washington was a wonderful article (“It Takes All Kinds,” Sept. 16). Tyrone captured the essence of the lake. I live in Madison Valley and visit many parts of the lake, including most of the parks, the bike trails, swimming beaches on the Seattle side of the lake, and even some on the east side. Tyrone’s comments about the lake being an equalizing and relaxing presence are right on target.

I don’t really know how to explain it, but Tyrone did. Congrats for a great article about our Lake Washington.

— Elisabeth Sohlberg, Seattle

A painful preview of fall fashions

Fall Fashion 2007 (Aug. 26): “Understated Elegance: Casual, independent and a little bit sassy.” C’mon, the featured fashions were none of the above!

The dresses were not casual. Only the Sharon Stone wannabes will sit down without pulling the skirt down to maximize cover. None of it reflects independence. The buyers have been sold by the designers, makers and marketers at every step in the process. I read “sassy” as cover for “sexy” because no woman is about to admit she might dress to be sexy in Seattle.

As for footwear, if the styles continue in vogue, the selection of stacked/stiletto/wedge high-heeled shoes can only be an uncomfortable step back for gullible women to end up with grotesque bent-out-of-shape big and small toes a decade down the road.

— Dave Olson, North Bend

A zero-mileage winery

The local food and “green-made wine” articles in the Aug. 19 (“Home Grown”) Pacific Northwest magazine were wonderful. However, in your list of “Washington wineries that are stepping up” you did leave out our neighborhood winery, Bainbridge Island Vineyards.

BIV may in truth be the greenest of all. Here are some of the reasons: They grow grapes far from the mass plantings in Western Washington. They have acquired no insect pests. They use no insecticides. All grapes are grown on site, and all waste is composted back onto the land rather than sent to a landfill as toxic material.

No fuel is consumed for grapes coming in or waste going out. This saves transport of 2.7 pounds of grapes, and transport and disposal of 1 pound of waste for each bottle of wine produced. Water is precious. Our local winery does not have to irrigate. The bulk of their production is sold locally and not shipped to distant markets. Their bottles don’t even have the bar codes that the industrial food-distribution system requires.

All of this is intentional; they do not want to make survival more difficult for local wine producers in other places.

Also, and I speak as a neighbor, the vineyards add inestimable year-round beauty to our community. The current owners, Gerard and JoAnn Bentryn, are retiring soon, and we (some of their neighbors and friends) are organizing to continue their 30-year green tradition as a community-owned and community-operated enterprise. Zero-mileage grapes, zero-mileage composted waste, no poisons, no irrigation, and wine made to be consumed here where it is grown. An ancient concept whose time has come again.

— Dennis Vogt, Rose Farm, Bainbridge Island

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