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horticultural limerick collections

A Garden of Limericks (3)

by Wes Porter
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This, the third in our hothouse of horticultural limerick collections, continues amidst the usual groans and sneers from the churlish and cheers from aficionados. For, as the anonymous rhymester wrote:

No matter how grouchy you’re feeling,
You’ll find that a limerick is healing.
It grows in a wreath
All around the front teeth,
Thus preserving the face from congealing.

Who are we mere mortals to find fault with such when so many from Edward Lear on to correspondents of the National Post have demonstrated a flare for such?

Since the home farm is presently undergoing something of a certain renaissance, let us delay hoeing away ‘til later in the day to examine limerick lamentations on the subject . . .

There was a young lady of Greenwich,
Whose garments were border’d with spinach,
But a large spotty calf
Bit her shawl in half,
Which alarmed that young lady of Greenwich.

Once, after a certain vertically challenged actor had appeared on celluloid with the beauteous Sophia Loren, he reported that the experience was "like being bombarded with watermelons."

The breasts of a lady named Helen
Were the size of a young watermelons.
When bared to the breeze
Men’s passions would freeze,
And they’d run away, screamin’ and yellin’.

Tomatoes have also attracted attention. Although the term for an attractive female is now somewhat dated, no collection of limericks would be complete without a contribution from the late, great Isaac Asimov.

The haughty philosopher, Plato,
Would unbend to a sweet young tomato.
Though she might be naïve
Like you wouldn’t believe,
He would patiently show her the way to.

A half-baked tomato named Sue
Was tossed in to season a stew.
She thoughtfully sighed
As she simmered and fried,
"I’m damned if I don’t — or I do."

Much to the amusement of some — and the distress of others — beans continue to attract attention. Not for nothing must astronauts learn to curb their passion for them, which leads us conveniently into a pair of leguminous limericks:

A flatulent fellow named Cooper
Is known as a blue-ribbon pooper.
Them as knows, says it means
He’s a glutton for beans —
Well, he bangs ‘em out like a trooper!

A crepitant cowhand named Sweezy
With his blasts made the country breezy.
Accomplished by means
Of big meals of red beans,
To Sweezy these breezes come easy.

We approach the subject of the cucurbits with caution. Watermelons are all very well, but there is something about cucumbers that arouses baser instincts. Most of the limericks on the subject are simply unfit for editorial consumption, let lone normal, nice readers. However, yet another pair may be cited:

An impotent fellow named Fife
Had little to do with his wife.
She dreamt in her slumbers
Of giant cucumbers,
Which greatly enhanced her love life.

There was an old spinster named Perkins
Whose gardener gave her some gherkins,
And times without number
She tried his cucumber,
Which pickled her internal workin’s.

Carrots are another vegetable also high on the list of fiendish frolics imagined by those intent on rambunctious fabrications:

A passionate schoolgirl named Parrott
Made indiscreet use of a carrot.
Said her mother, "When through,
Throw it into the stew;
We’ve got so darn few we can’t spare it."

Alongside or even interplanted with the vegetables may be herbs and possibly even spices. The latter we include simply on the advice of the late Robert Morely who defined the plural of spouse as "spice."

There was a young lady named Mabel,
Who was so ready and willing and able,
And so full of spice
She could name her own price.
Now Mabel’s all wrapped up in sable.

A critter of charm is the gerbil,
Its diet is exclusively herbal.
It browses all day
On great bunches of hay,
And farts with an elegant burble.

A young Highland gillie named Giles
Was badly afflicted with piles.
His mother’s herb ointment
Proved a sad disappointment —
The deer smelt him coming from miles.

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. He has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.