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PRESIDENT’S LETTER: Oh, How I Love An April Fool!

By Gosh and by Golly. (Actually, by Karen England, for Let’s Talk Plants! April 2022)

“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” ― Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson and Other Tales

This is not the first time that I’ve written about April Fool’s Day in Let’s Talk Plants!

And, most likely, fair warning, it won’t be the last.

My first memory of April Fool’s Day is from the second grade. We lived, at the time, in a rental house which was located midway down a long easement driveway in Sierra Madre, California, with mostly asphalt paving for a front yard and a thin long concrete pad behind for a back yard with a tiny bit of earth between the concrete and the back fence. There were houses, with yards and gardens, on either side of us along our side of the easement but not ours. The whole opposite side of the easement was a three story apartment complex complete with ground floor tenant parking - parking which was the sum total of the view out our front door and living room window.

My mother and me in front of our rental house located on a long easement driveway opposite an apartment complex when I was a kid. Does it look to you like it does to me that my mother has a hanging moss basket on her head?

That total lack of a yard gave me an idea for a prank. I was going to have a flower garden magically “grow” (appear) before my mother’s eyes while she was looking out the kitchen window doing the dishes on the morning of April 1st. Remember, I’m seven or eight years old...

I spent what seemed like weeks crafting this joke to play on my mom for April Fool’s Day that year after someone taught me, most likely my dad, what the upcoming day was all about. On the sly, I made dozens of 3D paper flowers using my craft supplies; construction paper, glue, tape, crayons, and pipe cleaners, etc. that I glued/taped/impaled to sticks that I’d foraged from the nearby park. I borrowed string from the kitchen and attached my creations a few inches apart along a piece of string as long as my back yard. I then shallowly buried everything in the little patch of dirt that could be seen when looking out the kitchen window. The plan was to wait until Mom was at the kitchen window in the morning and then pull up the string with the flowers tied along it making the garden suddenly appear out of the ground. That was the plan. Early that day, I waited, crouched off to the side of the patio, holding the string, poised to pull it as soon as my Mom first appeared at the kitchen window.

When there she was! I pulled the string.

Unbeknownst to me, Mom left the kitchen as soon as she appeared at the window to go back to bed and the joke was on me. No one saw the magic garden grow. Probably a good thing because in the end, when I pulled the string it was just a bunch of sticks and dirty damp construction paper in a heap.

That was both the first and the last AFD joke that I ever attempted but it was not all for naught. It turned me into a lifelong appreciator of a good April Fool’s prank, especially the horticultural variety, such as this one from Husqvarna!

“Swedish outdoor power product maker Husqvarna's new ‘dating’ app matches those who love trees with what they love. The Timber app, just like Tinder, allows users to ‘swipe left or right’ on their smartphones to accept or reject different tree species until a ‘match’ is made. Tree species include oak, elm, redwood, birch, spruce, and others. Each tree ‘profile’ includes the tree's age, location in the world, and a one-line biography, often told in clever puns.” - Robert Dalheim, for

Did you try the app? If so, which tree was your match? Mine was . . . Larch. I kid you not.


Karen England is the president of the San Diego Horticultural Society although no one is quite sure how that happened.

Follow her on Instagram @edgehillherbfarm if you like fun . . . and cats.


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