You have to feel a little sorry for Prince William. Here he is, 38 years old, in the prime of life, filthy rich, never has to work, married to the charming and beautiful Catherine “Kate” Middleton. You’d think, “Here’s a guy who’s got it made.” But you’d be wrong. Because, instead of sailing around South Sea islands in his luxurious yacht, drinking champagne from the diamond-encrusted Crown of Princess Blanche, his wife is making him take up gardening.

The very idea of him, Prince William Arthur Phillip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, second in the line of succession to the British throne… gardening! With dirt under his royal fingernails? But when his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, made the “suggestion,” he must have concluded that even gardening would be more pleasant than spending the rest of his days locked in the Tower of London.

“My wife does all the gardening,” William protested weakly to Brian Penney who runs Men’s Sheds, a community organization that gets “isolated and vulnerable men” to build things and grow vegetables together. “I really like it but I have no idea what I’m doing,” William said.

Sorry, Duke, but ignorance is no excuse. You’re going to have to suck it up and plant some tomatoes with the rest of the isolated and vulnerable men. Mr. Penny reports the Duchess thought that gardening would be a nice activity for her husband to share with his father, Charles, an avid gardener and heir apparent to the throne who, at 72, apparently realized it was going to be quicker to grow cantaloupes than to be crowned King of England. “He was so down-to- earth,” remarked Penny. “Such a nice man.”

I sympathize with Prince William. It’s spring and I’m feeling the pressure to plant a garden. Not raising a little corn and string beans in Iowa is downright unpatriotic. I look at our sad little garden, still fenced from last year, already grown up in weeds and crabgrass. If I were to plant something, what would it be? Potatoes? But potatoes in the store are cheap and neatly bagged up, all the same size. And they are so clean! To get home-grown potatoes that clean, you’d have to send them to spend a week in a spa in Switzerland. I love spinach. But so do bugs. Onions are easy to grow, but after they’re pulled up, you hang them out to dry and they make the whole place smell like…onions.

We do have a cherry tree that is starting to produce. But evidently, it had been crossed with a redwood tree so that now it is so tall, only certain city fire truck ladders and robins can reach the top branches.

I noticed our garden has a couple of old kale that came up from last year. Suddenly, I had an idea. This year, my garden will consist only of things that were already there: volunteer kale, dandelions, creeping Charlie, burdock and garlic mustard—all vigorous and self-sufficient. It will be a garden fit for a prince. I think my work is done here. This calls for champagne!

Recommended for you