Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Truth About Plant Nerds (or Leave No Plant Behind!)

When I returned home from my momma's funeral, I was determined not to leave any of the beautiful plantings that were given to honor her. This meant a 5.5 hour drive in something that looked like a mobile terrarium. But I am not alone in my plant obsession. Let me know if you can relate to this fun list by Jimmy Turner. 

21 Ways to know if you're a HortiHolic!  by Jimmy Turner
1.You took a career in gardening for the free plant benefits!
2.You’ve crossed international lines with plants in your underwear or socks.
3.You’ve dug something up in a cemetery that wasn’t dead  (or you keep a shovel in your car)
4.Your yard is planted in drifts of one
5.You “liberated” a cutting, seed, flower or plant from a public garden, park or garden center without asking or paying
6.You’ve lied to your loved ones about how much you spent on a plant/plants
7.You’ve seriously considered not divorcing someone, moving to a better job, or upgrading to a better house because you couldn’t move all of your plants
8.You’ve pushed, prodded, elbowed, kneed, blocked or in any way been less than nice at a plant sale
9.You’re trying to grow a shade tree from a seed or a 4” pot
10.You save old blankets and coats to protect plants in your garden during winter that should never be considered hardy here in the first place
11.You’ve broken up with someone for hating yard work or their dog dug up one of your plants
12.You buy plants with no idea where they are going in your garden….
13.You’ve moved a plant in your yard more than 3 times  (Gardening is just musical chairs with plants)
14.You can’t experience a garden without browsing... Like a sheep, nibbling, smelling, touching, fondling.
15.You can remember plant names better than people’s names...
16.Your boss, spouse, family don’t understand that you love the green of plants more than the green of money
17.You have a picture of a plant in your purse or cell phone you show off to friends or you’re carrying around a pic/plant to have identified
18.If you’d rather have a truck load of compost than a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates...
19.If you walk around your yard and describe plants by the names of the people you got them from....
20.The sales people at your local nursery know you by first name
21. Newest one... You move completely on the other side of the globe to follow your dream!

Jimmy Turner
Director of Horticulture for the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Danger Garden

In the summer of 2014 I was able to visit Danger Garden - aptly named as I was soon to find out. But I was entranced by the array of succulents and mostly xeriscape plantings that turned this home landscape into an eclectic oasis of sharp beauty! Loree Bohl's plant collection and plant knowledge is vast and is a fascinating example of design using a wide variety of foliage color, cool containers, and campy humor. She expertly exploits the use of color echo and grouping to create little vignettes of interest throughout the garden. Enjoy this little visit to Danger Garden! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Grief Is A River

Grief is a river that now wanders through my life. Flowing from a white-capped mountain’s loss it can seem a gentle stream that belies swift currents building as the river takes its form.

Grief is a river fed from the streams of memories that lay hidden beneath the surface, feeding into the flow at its appointed time. Sometimes a trickle of laughter-filled reflections or at times a torrent of tender tears rush to fill that river that winds its way through my days and nights.
Grief is a river whose eddies hold moments both fearsome and restful, waterfalls of emotions, meandering miles of reflection.
Grief is a river that needs to flow. Holding the river back, I can create what seems a peaceful respite.  Then a storm rages, the banks overflow, and grief pours uncontrollably through unguarded recesses of my heart.  Grief is a river that needs to flow – to tumble and purify over the rocky places; to seep into dry, barren places where love was forgotten, where forgiveness is needed; sediment memories transforming to silt as the river moves its way down to the estuary.


Grief, though fed with ever-pouring tributaries of life’s history, is a river that has its destination. The river heads relentlessly toward release.

Grief is a river that marks and maps my life yet in its movement renews and changes the landscape of my heart.

Grief is a river that needs to flow.

 In memory of Ann Hutchison Peake

Monday, December 1, 2014

There and I'm Going Back Again - A New Zealand Adventure

"Mom, I think I might do a study abroad this fall."
It was spring in Tennessee and my 22 year old son Zach was home from college when he tickled my ear with his latest adventure idea.
Me: Oh that sounds like fun. Where do you want to go?
Zach: New Zealand
My brain began to spin with rebellion - New Zealand was top of my bucket list of places that I wanted to visit and I wasn't quite ready to fork out extra funds for even my darlin' #3 son to spend a semester "studying" in the land of my dreams. Would he even begin to appreciate that about 80% of the plant material growing in New Zealand could never be seen growing wild anywhere else?
View from Eremia Retreat Centre over Coromandel
Zach: And my scholarship will pay for it and I'll have a paid internship.

Alfred Park in Auckland 
Ok, maybe I would take this under consideration. One condition - hubby and I would have to come and monitor his scholastic progress. It was our parental responsibility!

View from The Luge in Queenstown, NZ
So our adventure began 6 months later in early November - aka, springtime in New Zealand - with a 22 year old adventurer son as our tour guide. Two weeks touring from the south island and working our way north through flora, fauna, misty mountains, fiords, hair-pin turns, golden beaches, and more etherial sunsets than I thought my heart could handle. 
A few of my wooly friends - supposedly there are 9 sheep for every person living in New Zealand

Ulmus glabra 'Horizontalis' in Queenstown Garden

I thought I was prepared for the beauty.
Arrowtown, NZ

Wisteria arch in Queenstown Garden

I would love for someone to identify this for me!

A mound of Lady Banks Rose in Queenstown Garden

On the way to Milford Sound
I saw more varieties of ferns than I think I'll ever be able to label. 

The rhododendrons were vibrant with color enhanced by the acid soil in the Queenstown area. 

I went to New Zealand prepared to experience the wildness of the countryside and eagerly embraced the dramatic swings in temperature and landscape. We stopped dozens of time along our way as each turn held a new scenic wonder. I was captivated by the sweetly scented air that permeated my very core. But what stole my heart were the people of New Zealand. As we traveled late into the day, we often drove up to a closing resteraunt, hostel, or bed and breakfast that had put away any thoughts of evening guests. Yet time and time again we were welcomed, fed, entertained with stories from the locals who had to stick around and listen to some deep southern-USA accent. We found warmth in their graciousness, a wildness in their spirit that echoed their homeland, and a sweetness in their kindness that permeated as deeply as the jasmine scented air. The untapped natural beauty we found in New Zealand was a framework for the treasure of people who cared for and nurtured it. 

The Mussel Inn - hands down some of the best mussels and beer on this planet.  
Loved getting to know Marie and Serge and their friends - Belgium-Kiwi folk - at their 
Waitapu Springs and Waitapu Springs B&B.
Fred Jordan explains some of the complexities of growing kiwifruit organically on his orchard "La Marguarite"- we stayed in their Katikati Kiwifruit Cottage

With wind gusting at 35-40 knots I was literally being swept away by the beauty around me. 
Sunset at Wharariki Beach 

More stories to follow on New Zealand - I just have to whittle through about 6000 photos first...


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Celebrating the life of Benjamin Hanson Farley

When faced with death, Ben Farley chose to live. Our community said good-bye to Ben today, but the legacy he left of love for life and love for Jesus will continue to touch lives.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's All In The Way You Present It

 This evening, after a dinner of salmon and asparagus perfectly grilled by the men in my house, I pulled out my new super zoom lens and started snapping photos from the comfort of my patio chair.
Pine cone clusters grouped like bananas at the top of my old white pine

Dahlias just starting to bloom among the tomatoes and squash.

Peeking over my fence into the far corner of our vegetable/flower garden. 

 And as I realize the ability to capture images in the far distance with this lens, I absentmindedly comment, "I would make a great stalker."

A cluster of containers going up my back stairs.

The pepper corner with Chili Chilly Pepper and Purple Flash Pepper. 

A comment to which my #4 son responds, "Mom, I wouldn't be saying that in public places." (Which is why I am so writing this on my blog.)

Oakleaf hydrangea "Pee Gee" 
 And #1 hubby chimes in with, "Maybe you can say you would make a great Private Investigator." He's always looking for ways to not be embarrassed by me.

Peeking through the Ginko tree at the neighbors crepe myrtle. 

 So I'm thinking I'll start the #1 Ladies' Plant Detective Agency. Yes, that would be Precious.
Spring and Summer I have to coordinate container plantings with our canoe's seasonal storage spot. 
Because you never know what may be lurking near where you store your canoe,  

Or what's coming up in your garden jungle.
So stop by for a cup of red tea and between my new powerful lens and a few years of plant nerdiness, let the #1 Ladies Plant Detective Agency work with you on solving the greatest of plant mysteries!