Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: A rainy weekend is a weekend when I don’t have to enter the outdoorsy part of my estate.


RN: I hear you. I’m saying this at risk of having my Gay Card revoked, but for me, gardening ranks right up there with watching pro sports as an Activity I’d Rather Avoid.


CP: I don’t even enjoy having someone else do it for me. My friend Al used to work in my yard, and I would putter about inside the whole time, feeling bad for him as he pulled weeds and pruned for hours, seemingly happy as Liberace in a bubble bath.


RN: Drop the guilt trip and enjoy. I love looking at verdant urban landscapes, and am only too happy to support my partner’s glorious efforts in our yards, front and back. Just don’t make me weed, because I don’t know phlox from creeping Charlie.


CP: This is the worst time of year for people like us. We are expected to “get the annuals in” and “pot things up” and other such odious chores. Let a couple of weekends slip by, I say, and you may reassure yourself that now it’s too late, so why bother?


RN: Two words: Property values.


CP: Two more: Dirt-caked cuticles. Or is that three?


RN: Watering I can handle. Just so long as I don’t forget that the sprinkler is on and I end up washing away half of Mac-Groveland. I can even get with the mower and not hate it, so long as I don’t have to deal with catching the clippings in a bag.


CP: Mowing’s not bad. It’s above the dirt, not in it. I love my electric mower, and cutting the yard on the bias. Seems to impress the neighbors.


RN: Only a gay man could talk about cutting the grass in the same manner that the great French couturier Elsa Schiaparelli cut a dress. Thanks for that.


CP: If only I could write a poem as well-made and beautiful as some of the gardens created by my friend Tom. When I picture him, he’s mud-caked, sunhatted and with a trowel in one hand, backed by a weedless hillside covered in blooms and variegated foliage.


RN: My Auntie Sue is both an avid gardener — you should see the woman’s daffodils — and a child of the 1970s, so when she first used the phrase dead head in my presence, I assumed she was referring to Jerry Garcia’s fans.


CP: Your aunt may get the Daffodil Queen crown, but my Dutch stepmom, Annette, is unrivaled when it comes to tulips. Can we agree that — no thanks to us — gardeners make the world a better place?


RN: Absolutely. In gratitude, I propose a national Take a Gardener to Lunch Day.


CP: At a place with real flowers on each table.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib