Monthly Archives: November 2015

dear santa

this year on a personal level, has been one in which I find myself profoundly grateful for so many things; a new daughter in law, some lovely family travel time, Faith’s amazing doctors and their care, really the list could go on for ever.

On a garden/yard level things were not too shabby either. After a cold spring we had wonderful weather , no major damage from summer storms or early snow storms, a late first frost and extended warm spell rounded out the year. We were able to finally start a renovation of the pool area and in the Spring will finish with the fence and gardens there. Some things , like clematis and all the spring blooming shrubs and bulbs had a spectacular year, although the roses and dahlias were in a word, awful.

Now I am dreaming of what comes next, planning and plotting, ordering seeds and making notes. Of course some of what I am  hoping, garden -wise, will require assistance, and for that I turn to the dear little man in the red suit.

Dear Santa,

I know I always tell you I have been on my best behavior, but this year I really really mean it. I played nice with others all through the planning and execution of several large family gatherings where stress and arguing can be the norm. I held my opinions and temper to myself and kept a smile firmly planted on my face at all times. That, my sweet man, warrants gifts galore. I also made it through a very challenging October and November with Wil down for the count because of his back and Faith needing some medical treatment that required me to be a super-human to pull off while working and managing the house solo. ( I also didn’t kill Wil despite his constant whining and laying around and that took serious effort and should earn me bonus points).

So let me ask, darling, for just a few small things.

First, please send a plague to the rabbits, we have tried everything and are quite frankly sick of their mayhem. A plague ,please, and soon.

We spent so much money on wedding/pool reno/life in general and our savings are seriously depleted. Therefore I can not afford useless garden ornamentation , but I still want it. These stone wellies from Ballard Design are a silly expenditure at $79, and I can’t explain why i want them , but I do. In a big way. If you leave them under the tree I promise to display them tastefully .

Stone Wellies

I also want the entire catalog of gifts from Terrain. If you could just hitch a chain to the back of the store and relocate it, kit and caboodle to Jefferson , well gosh ,I would be forever in your debt.

Fresh & Green | visit our Christmas MarketplaceFire Pit Gatherings

If that proves to be too much, then you could hand pick your favorites for me, I trust your judgement

( but just in case did you see this?Amaryllis ‘Emerald’ Bulb

or this?

or these?Heirloom Japanese Pruner


Just sayin’


and finally, as always , i put in a request for a ton of snow

I know, I know, everyone else seems to ask you for the opposite, but clearly after last year I know whose side you are on(and i have seen where you live) so I am pretty sure I will get my wish.

as always, thank you in advance, and you and the Missus have a great holiday season!




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almost there…..

A few thoughts as the the end of my 52 week attempt at arranging from the garden  is closing in…….

I have enjoyed it immensely and most certainly learned a thing or two about my garden, my schedule, and my  arranging skills ( or lack thereof)

Looking back over what has transpired, I  guess I firmed up what I knew already regarding  how I like to display flowers which is usually quite uninspired and a little boring , but I like to think of it as natural . i really don’t care for manipulated arrangements a and  I never ever use floral foam so being restricted to vases and vase- like things I never compose anything artsy. Oh well, I am who I am

.Next year I will make an effort to try to get a bit out of my comfort zone and see what I can dream up.

I also learned that when the garden is at its most bountiful  is when I like to cut flowers the least. This mostly has to do with how busy I am out there keeping it all  at it’s best and less importantly but true all the same  the fact  that looking at it all day outside  means I am less inclined to want to bring any indoors.

Here are two more made using late season “stuff’  and making the most of the stands of chrysanthemums I grow as well as all the glorious Fall foliage.

fall DSC_0008 - CopyAn old bud vase filled with oak leaf hydrangea leaves, two  mums ( Wil’s Wonderful and Centerpiece), a single stem of yellow twig dogwood and a sprig of thyme that came back into bloom . It is standing in front of a rosemary plant and next to some coleus cuttings that are rooting in water.

This next one is a tiny teapot filled first with the burnishing foliage of small leaved azaleas,  some leaves and hips from rosa glauca, two stems from honeysuckle ‘Major Wheeler’ ( in bloom since May!) pods of Siberian iris, salvia,  mums,gallardia,  and the drying flowers of allium thungbergii ‘Ozawa’

Just in case you were curious, we have had many hard frosts and mostly  cold nights , a few down to the 20′s or even teens, but a recent week of warmer weather during the day has brought a few things ( like the salvia and thyme) back to life.

DSC_0022 - Copy fall in a teapot

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a sad day for science

This post will be most definitely a departure from lovely garden pictures . It is a rant, and an angry one, but I will keep it short.

Those of us who work in any facet of communication and education know how difficult it can be to address controversial subjects. In my world Nativism,  Colony Collapse Disorder of bees, pesticide safety and GMO’s are just a few of he issues i tend to shy away from open discussion on because they are just too contentious. There is science out there on all of the above issues, some good, some bad, and some that conflicts thus complicating the issues. NONE of these subjects is fully studied, understood, or simple. This complexity and a need to be able to read and understand scientific studies complicate the understanding for many lay people ( myself included) who then rely on bona fide scientists to interpret and explain results. Good communication skills are  of the utmost importance for those who choose to share their knowledge with others as they  are essentially translating a foreign language to those of us who last studied science and did lab work in high school or college before beginning careers in other vocations. I value their time and enjoy reading many of their public writings and following their podcasts to gain a better understanding of my chosen field.

Sadly, there is a huge group of people who enter into these discussions whose mission is not to think critically,, read research, participate in discussions and learn. Instead , they have an opinion already set in stone and follow ( usually)  other lay people who  support what they believe , and as a bonus they have the whole world wide web to seek out compatriots in their cause . Actually I do not have a problem with that, we are all entitled to our opinions and views of the world, and sometimes a differing view challenges me to really examine what I think I know and search out more information on a subject. I do however, have a problem with the ever growing rank of people who are neither scientifically literate or educated in a subject lashing out personally at someone who is.

In a discussion it is never alright to attack the other person ( called ad hominem) when you can’t attack the validity if their argument. .It is not civil, it is not productive and it often results in an argument mired in anger and slurs.

Kevin Folta ( professor and chair of Horticulture at The University of FL) is a brilliant scientist who is among those who care enough to try to enlighten the world.  Over the past few months he has come under such personal attack  that he has decided to bow out of his public discussions and will no longer be part of the greater community of learners. It is a sad, sad , day when civilized human beings can no longer participate in valuable discussions without fear of harm coming to their career ,family , or person. I hang my head and mourn for his loss and the future loss of those who either already are under attack or after  witnessing  others being attacked will refrain from enriching our world with their knowledge.

I also applaud Kevin and other scientists  like him (there are MANY) who face such ad hominem attacks with grace and patience , answering back with data and questions trying to further the discussion even though they know they will be met with enmity and  hate.

Be careful out there. Challenge what you read, look for data to support your beliefs,  never ever rely on any web source without further fact checking and gain a solid understanding of an issue before entering a dispute with others. We can all add to the discussion, but  allowing any  person or group to silence a  voice with the use of personal  threats and unsubstantiated assaults against someone’s   integrity brings us to a very scary place indeed.

Link to Kevins blog

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