• Sacramento radio hostFarmer Fred Hoffman
, author of “Farmer Fred Rants,” tackles the difference between gardening shoes and garden shoes:
“‘Gardening shoes’ imply footwear that combines function, comfort and safety while working outdoors. ‘Garden shoes’ are an amalgam of style and color, with an overabundance of plastic. Their job: Make the gardener look good, as in ‘Don’t these purple sandals complement my English lavender? And they go so well with the mauve wall color in our dining room!’
“Gardening shoes are worn by horticultural heroes for whom the term ‘sweat shirt’ means ‘cool weather warmth’ or ‘The stinky, wet short-sleeve tee with the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd Tour schedule on the back that gets worn every Saturday.’ These are the gardeners who are dripping perspiration by 10 a.m., after spending the early morning shoveling, wheelbarrowing and transplanting.
“Garden shoes are on the feet of rose-snippers, leaf-fondlers and blossom-sniffers who wander through their garden after Sunday brunch, a copy of Sunset magazine in one hand, a mimosa in the other. Their main job: Straighten up the area so that their landscape service doesn’t think they are slobs. Their shoes were not constructed to traverse any of these outdoor conditions: mud, weeds, snails or walking any distance more than the 70 feet …
“What do hard-working gardeners want in a shoe? A shoe that doesn’t distract from a day in the yard.”