Saturday, November 21, 2009

WEEK 13 #7 ESSAY DIVISION ESSAY (11-23-2009)

In week 10, ESSAY #5 should have been a Division Essay. Mine evolved into an Example Essay and you accepted it as such. So, this week I would like to do an ESSAY #7, which will be the Division Essay. Thank you for being so flexible with me.

I purchased my home 18 years ago, and I have successfully planted a number of beautiful gardens that have flourished over the years. It was not as simple, however, as just going to Lowe’s and selecting different plants based on which ones appealed to me at the time, and then planting them indiscriminately around the property. My selections and where everything finally got planted was based on some careful analysis beforehand to ensure the best results. Soil type, hours of sunlight, and drainage were just three key factors in selecting plants for my gardens. I began by selecting the trees I wanted that first summer. As my budget allowed, I would add small bushes the following year, followed by perennials and bulbs.

I would recommend you do a soil analysis before doing anything else. Determine if your soil is acidic or basic. My soil was acidic. Pine trees, and deciduous ornamentals like rhododendrons and azaleas love moist, acidic (pH 4.5-6.5), humus-rich soil with good drainage. Five to six hours of sunlight with light shade is preferable. Other selections might include hamamelis (Witch-hazel), hydrangea, and lilac. The areas along the driveway side of the house had all these properties and I planted these trees there. I chose a particular variety in each to keep with a violet color scheme to accent the yellow siding on my house.

Secondly, determine how many hours of sunlight each area of the yard receives each day. One area of my yard received less than five hours of sunlight a day and already had tall, lanky maple trees there. I knew I would need to consider putting “understory” trees there. The serviceberry and dogwood would do well there. So, I purchased two of each. These both had a red to red-violet cast so they worked well in my color scheme too.

Lastly, consider the drainage on the property. Some trees do not like “wet feet“. One particular area of my yard is very wet. I needed to find trees that liked this condition. The Black Willow, Buttonbush, and Pussy Willow were good choices for these areas. The Pussy Willow buds were red in the Spring and the Black Willow had a reddish bark. The Buttonbush had glossy green leaves with red ribs.

These three factors are the most important ones to consider if your garden (trees) is to survive and thrive in a particular area of your yard. Color, texture, size, height, scent, length of blooming time, etc. are all secondary. With a some careful planning in the beginning, you will have beautiful results in the end.


  1. Sometimes English teachers get little bees in their bonnets or pet peeves or whatever you like to call them: mine is instructions. I hate being told what to do, in person or on paper.

    This is definitely a division essay, but you've started each support graf with instructions and advice and ended with showing how that advice played out in your own gardens. This would be stronger, I think, if you had avoided opening the grafs with advice and instead plunged right into descriptions of your own gardening.

    I'll certainly take it as is because it's competent and because students writing well should not otherwise be hostage to my little oddities. But in writing essays, my opinion is that instructions can only be offered as humor, parody, or ironically.

  2. Hello John,

    Thank you for your feedback on how to make this essay better. I agree, my advice does appear to be instructions.

  3. Hello John,

    I will be posting my comparison essay after lunch today. I reviewed my prompts, freestyles, short and long grafs, etc. I believe my records show I will be up to date checking all assignments due by today.

    I emailed my final Isearch draft yesterday and dropped off a hard copy to your office. I plan on doing the 11th (optional)short graf. Next week will be freestyle and prompts #15, the practice final, which I will look for on Sunday.

    I replied to your email to verify the date for my final, noon on the 18th. Let me know if there are any changes or if I have overlooked anything. I reviewed the past sample finals, thank you for the material there.