His humor not always apropos

It slowly but surely on you would grow

The seeds would be planted

meanings that were slanted

to challenge the status quo.

Rick Vuyst Standup Comedy

I call it The Frozen Pundra. Some people don’t like puns because it clouds their view of order and the way they think things are supposed to be. I believe that is why they become so annoyed with word play. I beg your garden. Puns are a form of questioning and interpretation. Multiple interpretations of thought, words and information promote curiosity which in turn promotes creativity where new ideas and approaches are born. It’s how to build a better mousetrap where ideas are exchanged and result in mouse to mouse resuscitation. Puns can be unsettling because they challenge what we think we know and are often dismissed as nonsense. I say instead it is opportunity for creative and abstract interpretations linking one idea to the next if you have an open mind. The end result is a new creation or at the very least an adaptation. It is not a fig leaf of my imagination this is the essence of creativity useful in our daily landscapes. Landscapes like words are not monotonous or static and can be viewed from a variety of angles. Pundits are like flowers; they appear out of nowhere and change the perspective in a colorful way.

One of history’s best pundits was Abraham Lincoln. He found stories, tales, jokes and linguistic tricks along with a sharp wit served him well. If anything Lincoln’s sense of humor was amazing considering the years of war and personal tragedy. A friend of his remarked that Lincoln’s wit, humor and storytelling was his way to “whistle off sadness.” If you think I am simply “pun”-tificating to justify my approach, read on, plants like people also will approach situations from a different angle instead of accepting the status quo.

Biologists have discovered that plants can detect neighboring competing plants and match a response to their presence. They try stem elongation to try to outgrow their neighbors, shade tolerance where they learn to live with less light flattening and enlarging their foliage or avoidance by growing away from their neighbors. In each case the status quo is not just routinely accepted but rather a creative response is chosen entertaining a new angle on reality. I believe people who are able to hold two or more opposing views in their mind at the same time, see both sides of a coin, and still are able to function like those plants. It is a means of creative response to situations and others by considering alternative meanings and reactions.

My neighbor dug a hole in my backyard. I thought he meant well.

Whether you can appreciate puns or not, two puns have stood out for me. "Thank you very mulch” stuck from the start and are the first words out of most people’s mouths when they meet me out and about. The pun that created the biggest stir was "I just wet my plants.” You should too, it will entertain your neighbors and your hydrangeas are going to love it. Since the early days of its debut the phrase has groan on people and has been used on roadside signs. Those signs of course are perfect fodder for a social media posting and it spreads like wildfire. I would say “Zip up your plants”, “Don’t get caught with your plants down”, and “Don’t operate by the seat of your plants” were winners, but “Don’t wet your plants” has a leg up on them all.

It’s been 25 years of doing my gardening talk radio show this spring, a quarter of a century of fun, interviews, sharing, learning, perspectives and puns. I’m awaiting another gardening season after a long cold snowy winter out here on the frozen pundra. Life is a wordscape and with them we paint pictures and entertain with theatre of the mind. Don’t get your pansies in a bunch if this small sampling does not get your stump of approval. I do not want to shrub you the wrong way. Lettuce at least agree to disagree for this too shall soon grass. Happy trails to you, until we weed again.

Here are some of the phrases and puns (over 400) I have used through the years on my shows:

Thank you very mulch
Two Fun guys and a Cracked Pot
Be a smarty Plants!
It’s not a fig-leaf of your imagination
Maintain your composture
Trying to stay grounded
Just call me Planta Claus
You can’t plant flowers if you haven’t botany
Entre-manureal Savvy
Entre-manures across the rooted plain
I just wet my plants
Use your tulips and speak to me
Mow and Behold
It’s not root-tine
Com-plant Department
I’m a Crop-timist
Hot Plants never went out of style
We’ve got the plant-swers
Do you plant-asize about a beautiful garden?
The things I Pot up with
Flowers are scent-uous
I am easy to get a lawn with
People phlox to me
Don’t get caught with your plants down
Bon Foliage my friend
Termite to lose weight…starts eating lattice
Don’t get your Pansies in a bunch
Floral you do this bud’s for you
Lawn live the king
Floral the world to see
Maple we can help you
Don’t operate by the seat of your plants
May the florist be with you
It’s a kick in the plants
Fly by the seat of your plants
Split your plants
Bend over and split your plants
I love it when you talk dirt to me
I’m too sexy for my dirt
I’m just being knotty
I’m highly Mow-tivated
Zip up your plants
Given our stump of approval
Can’t believe I ate the vole thing
Frozen Pundra
Raw naturale
Pots and Puns
Basil Instinct
Be a pro-grass-tinator
I’m having dirty thoughts
Not mulch fun
Weapon of grass destruction
This too shall grass
I like to think I have a lot of grass
Part of the working grass
Grass warfare
Is your yard lawn gone?
The Grass of 2018
How long has this been growing on?
Oh bee-hive
Don’t be sod
It ain’t over until it’s clover
Mole No More Gaddafi
Rick or Treat
Planthora of fun
Pro-seed with caution
My mother told me there would be Daisies like this
There’s mower to come
Was hoping you would Turnip
It’s good today but what about tomato?
Don’t asparagus any of the details
If you carrot all
Lettuce do this
Weed need to talk
Plant today eat tomato
Jack O Lantern broken? Get a pumpkin patch
Lower Da Bloom
Mulchos Grassious
Frequent flower miles
Mulch to do
Plant ahead
Lettuce talk
Bonjour Manure
Aster not what your country can do for you….
Florist Gump
Air Florist One
Air Forest One
Dear damage
Out here on the frozen Pun-dra
Peas on Earth good till towards men
Been there pun that
Kiss me I’m Iris
I moss make dew
Lettuce Turnip the Beet
I’ll be there in a Snapdragon
I’m Gladiola you’re OK
Before or Aster?
Leaf me alone
In short it’s Trunk-cated
I Pine for you
Spruce Springsteen
Shovel ready stimulus
Are you shear-ious?

Grass warfare
You work Yard for the money
Underground, undercover intelligence
Yard-core Gardener
“Not a carrot in the world
Moss-ter gardener
Sedges have edges, rushes are round, grasses are hollow, what have you found?
Know Maintenance Gardening
Peas on earth good till for men
Haven’t Botany in a while
Oh my raking back
A Grass Act
Plant some Pun-tunias
It’s a Tree-t
It’s Oak-K
Lawn is flexing its moss-cles
Our show is com-plant–able with your radio
It’s simply stem-ulating
Mulch to do
Push comes to shovel
You’ve been working too yard
You work yard for the money
No condensation
Moss–age therapist

Ground rules
You’re grounded
Staying grounded
I’m sending you to your bloom
Don’t be held Hosta
Hosta la Vista baby
Wet your plants
Pull up your plants
Plant one on me!
What the world weeds now is lawn sweet lawn
Raking up is hard to do
Plant Man!
Involuntary Plant Slaughter
Consider it dung
Don’t get uprooted
I used to be shy but now I’m an extra-dirt or Extra-dirted
You’re in for a root awakening
Root for the loam team
Put your best root forward
I see London, I see France, I see problems with your plants
I’m your fearless Weeder
Blessing in Da Skies
Da Vine intervention
Go out on a limb where the fruit is
Find this A-Pollen
I’m Up-Beet
You’ve bean such a good friend
Don’t beet around the bush
Peas and quiet
Sprout it from the rooftops!
Lettuce Romaine friends
Happy trellis to you….until we weed again
Sir Plants a Lot
Plant today Eat Tomato
Mulch to do about nothing
Thatch all folks
Tilling it like it is
Soil your plants
Traveling at the speed of blight
Kiss my Aster
What’s growing on?
Scratch that Niche
Class voted me most likely to re-seed
Noble Peas Prize
Gardening is a work of heart
Weeding by example
Take me to your weeder
Not tonight, deer
Deerly departed
Holey Guaca-moley
Stalks are down
Diversify your hortfolio
Who’s your lawnlord
I yam what I yam
Stop in the name of the lawn
Traveling at the speed of ground
The long arm of the lawn
Shrub you the wrong way
No Shrub-stitute
A knew experience
I’ve developed a flowering
Flower the leader
A sense of Humus
Mulch Sweat and Shears
We’re Root’n for you
Put your best root forward
Dodge the crop-i-rotzzi
Ants in your plants
Groundcovers are fancy underplants
This Bud’s for you
Grow with the flow
It’s Grow time
Tailor your plants
Need a good swift kick in the plants?
Bush it to the limit
May the forest be with you
Don’t lose your composture
Make you green with Ivy
Pessimists need a good kick in the can’ts
Living on the hedge”
Soiled reputation
Don’t throw in the trowel
Who wears the plants in your family?
Lawn Irritation
Fescue 911
Gardener who needs a shave: Harry Potter
Favorite flower is Pillsbury All purpose
The prestigious lawn firm of Trillium, Sage, Gall and Fungus
Manure. It’s so nutritious plants can’t understand why cows get rid of it.
Two fun-guys and a cracked pot
I fought the lawn and the lawn won
Making a lawn story short
Even the trees root for us
Fun and Veg-u-cational
You need a little Lawn and Order
Don’t be a Mow-ron
You’re among fronds
Be a cracked pot
That’s cucumber–some
Spring it on, Baby!
Really Lichen This
Matter of Thyme
Grow Get ‘Em
In my ele-mint
A Pun-dently clear
I Di-grass
He has a Violet nature
Plants Need to go Potty
Don’t be a spore loser
Thought that would Flora Ya!
Auger Management
Get a Manure–cure
Com Post Office
Pistel and Stamen is not an 80’s band
Take the most direct Root
Go ahead, rake my day
Forgive me I’m only humid
I knew you had it Zinnia
You Rose to the occasion
I beg your garden
Starving Ar-tree-st
Vincent Van Grow
Prestigious Lawn Firm
Attorney: Trillium Sage Gall and Fungus
Secretary: Mary Gold
Keep us composted on your progress
Relax in my Rick-liner
We’ve got plant-swers
I’ve been raking my brain

Rake rattle and roll
Sage advice
Stalk radio
Don’t rest on your laurels
I’m green with ivy
Horticultural ADD: Always Digging Deeper
We’ve groan on you
Don’t throw in the trowel
Impatiens are a virtue
Be a Baby Bloomer
The Tree Musketeers
Hoe, Hoe, Hoe
Okey Dokey Artichokey
Soil the airwaves
Dirty job, somebody’s got to do it
Hope your compost pile has a rotten day
Call Fescue 911
Phil dirt wanted
We’re not bush league
When it comes to weeds, you’ve got pull
A new mow-lennium
Here we grow again
Can you dig it?
Gardeners know the best dirt
Weed em and reap
We’ll grow on you
A growing concern
Trees a crowd
Berried treasure
Unidentified flowering objects
Don’t get stewed about your tomatoes
Dirt cheap
Weeding things out
Field of dreams
Garden hoe!
We don’t soft petal our love for flowers
Growing strong
The Lawn Ranger
Heard it through the grapevine
On the cutting hedge
Begonia is not a foreign country
Club moss is not a vacation resort
Make some Prune juice
Add some humorous to your soil
Partners in grime
By trowel and error
Ace of spades
We’ve got our ear to the ground
Chip off the old patio stone
Down to earth
Turf’s up
When the going gets turf, the turf get going
Turf city USA
Like an owners manual for your yard
Get to the root of the problem
Underground intelligence
Let it out or sweat it out
What’s the story morning glory?
Hedging your “beds”
Barking up the right tree
Deep in their roots, all flowers see the light
Make a lawn story short
Can’t we all just get a lawn?
Making molehills out of mountains
Well grounded
Well rooted advice
Don’t be stumped
Is your yard lawn gone?
Compost happens
Flowers going to pot?
Flowers a basket case?
Feeling bushed?
You need good dirt
What’s the scoop?
Can’t leaf it alone
Planting ideas in your head
Crazy like a foxglove
Flowers are mortal, weeds never die
Grass grows best where you wish it wouldn’t
Flower Power
Surf and Turf
Yardeners are down to earth
Weeds are crack addicts
The way to a green thumb is dirty fingernails
Dig in
Can you dig it?
If your plants need more support than a trellis, try group therapy
When the wood chips are down
Our plants are made with home grown ingredients. No sugar, no fat, cholesterol and proven to promote clean air and good health.
Branching out
Shear madness
Going out on a limb
Real gardeners never grow up, they just keep growing
Your branch office for garden advice
Weeding out answers for you
If you don’t grow vegetables, it helps to praise and admire the ones in your neighbors yard
If you find yourself talking to your plants, you need to get out more often
Turning over a new leaf
Helping you find pay dirt
Breaking ground
Gardening is hotter than compost
When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers
Annuals die, they don’t come back so you’ll come back
Don’t hedge on asking for help
In – tree – guing
Take a dip in the Hot Shrub
Use your Two-lips and speak to me
You’re the boss, Applesauce
You’re just dandy, cotton candy
Ex-seed your expectations
You’re the berries, Maraschino cherries
Got im-plants dirt cheap
Share the Soil-ties with you
Wearing my Sun Grasses
Sod–isfying your curiousity
Need some re-leaf?
Kinda Dug that One
Where have you bean all my life?
Hedge – endary
Seed of Light
Grass –inating
A Mole in One
Mole Vaulter
Gauc – a – Mole – Eee
Stay tuned…there’s mower to come
It grew my mind
I’m at the Elm
I’m Flowered
Raking up is hard to do
Those who throw dirt are sure to lose ground