Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Monday, October 31, 2011

366 Days of The Growing Zone - Starting Tomorrow!!

The Growing Zone - A Daily Look at Life Growing All Around Me

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the new events in my life - of taking on greater responsibility in the company that I work for and the learning curve that rises ahead of me. I have a new boss who is pouring information my way on how to manage people well and develop my leadership skills. But the end result of all this is to produce beautiful landscapes: economically sound, ecologically friendly, and ever noteworthy - whether in a tiny townhome courtyard or a 5 acre green space. I see my days ahead being a continual process of growing - whether in knowledge, in understanding, in the greenhouse, or in the landscape. So check in daily to see what new or renewed bit of information that's come my way. "You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into..." the Growing Zone.

Be prepared for posts that include pictures like this - that remind you of the many reasons to plant those spring blooming bulbs. :)


Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Field of Screams?

I took this picture while visiting Dr. Kessler's Prairie Garden in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I wanted a picture of the flowing field and all its texture and movement.
I was a little freaked out when I downloaded the pictures and saw what else was in this field!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Container Ideas


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Peter Principle vs. Peter's Principles and The Tale of Two Katies

The last few days have been very interesting. In a few short weeks my day job has gone from being a venue that I dealt with confidently (annual and container plantings for a large development company) to the huge learning curve job of overseeing the company’s entire landscape and irrigation installation department. I look in the eyes of those I work with and see “but she’s just the ‘the flower lady’” and almost hear their heads rattle as they shake them in dismay. The term ‘the Peter Principle’ seems to be on everyone’s lips.

Was this a position I sought and fought for? No.

Is this a position I embrace. Of course. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do this job. My only concern has been, “How long until I can do this job with excellence,” and “will I be given the tools to learn my job well.” I tend to ignore the Peter Principle, which is the idea that in business, people are promoted into jobs with duties they cannot fulfill, and hope my focus is more on Peter’s principles.

You may have heard of Peter – he was fisherman who became a disciple of Christ, who was always sticking his foot in his mouth, who seemed to act first and think later, yet Christ chose him to be the person to help build his church. And Peter wrote two letters, the first of which spoke some of how I should handle my responsibilities as an employee (I Peter 2:13-21) by showing respect to all those around me, to do good in all I do, and to serve diligently those I serve. Peter’s life was about hard work, having a teachable spirit, and not being afraid to face his mistakes and learn from them. His influence was felt more deeply because he knew he needed the help of others.

The more I thought about living out Peter’s principles, the more I thought about the stories I have followed over the last few years of two very different Katie’s. Katie deSwanville has a blog called NorCalKatie and I enjoy her thought provoking post and perspective on life and gardening. I gained keen interest in her writing, though, when I read that she had been stricken with spinal meningitis and hovered near death for months. She faced an obstacle that destroys many lives, yet the moxie that I enjoyed in her pre-meningitis days when she would face life’s obstacles and proclaim, “Bring it!” seemed to be her subconscious battle cry in her long recovery. There are no skills for battling death, there is only a passion to live. This is a gal who seems almost polar opposite to most of what I believe socially, politically, and spiritually. But her mantra is “Be not afraid of death.
Be afraid of the unlived life.” The learning curve seems to be her mode of operation.

The other Katie is another 20 something who left for Uganda at age 18 for a year of mission work and has ended up being foster mother to 15 young women and starting a mission to educate and care for hundreds of orphans in this war ravaged country. Katie Davis had no formal skills to do what she did (you MUST read her book, Kisses From Katie), but she had plenty of passion. Her young life has inspired and influenced more lives than most folks ever will, and the thought, "Can I do this?" never seems to part of her forward motion.

So I’m thinking that as I plan to stay away from ‘The Peter Principle’ and follow Peter’s Principles, I might just start saying I’m using the Katie Principle – to look at what is set before me, to use the passion that has driven me to this industry (what a great way to ‘Cultivate a Culture of Gardening’ by setting an example of good gardening principles in landscape installment!), and look that learning curve in the eye and proclaim, “Bring it!”.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Mystery Plants Revealed!

Day 353 - Supertunia® Indigo Charm Pentunia
Day 354 -
Yubi® Red Portulaca

Day 355 - Lanai® Dark Red
Day 356 - Walkabout Sunset
® Lysimachia
Day 357 - Daredevil
® Claret Zonal geranium
Day 358 - Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Purple Sweet potato vine (Yea, I know this one was hard to see; took the picture with my phone)
Day 359 - Supertunia
® Vista Bubblegum
Day 360 - Intensia
® Blueberry Phlox hybrid
Day 361 - Red Glo Echevera (I am guessing on this one myself - I need a succulent expert/PW expert to give me the exact variety!)
Day 362 - Summer Wave
®Blue Torenia
Day 363 - Angel Face Dark Violet Angelonia
Day 364 - Inspire Deep Orange pansy


DAY 365 of 365 Days of Container Gardening

Supertunia Indigo Charm petunia with Saffron calibrachoa, verbena, and Russellia surround a Variegated Lemon Tree.

What a year this has been - sent a son to Afghanistan, had another son graduate from high school, one other son got married, wrote a book, and saw my 50 hr a week horticulture job jump to an oh-too-frequent 60 hrs a week. But before it all began I decide to write a daily blog - and I'll spend another post waxing poetic about the truths I've learned along the way. But folks are eager to have a chance to win something to celebrate this fun year of blogging. So here's what you need to do:
There are TWO chances to win a container gardening prize!
To Win the Fabulous Proven Winners Prize Package (see Sneak Peak at 365 Days of Container Gardening Giveaway!) all you have to do is make a comment on this post and let me know what is your favorite container from this past year.

To Win a $200+ container from Campania International go to The Flower Ladies of SLC, LLC
facebook page - LIKE my facebook business page and leave a comment on the post that says "WIN A Campania container".

You have until Sunday, Oct. 9, at 3pm to leave your comments (that's about the time I either wake up from my Sunday afternoon nap or about the time the Titan's game is over). The winner will be chosen from a random drawing. Thank-you for this year of support and fun comments and stay tuned for the kick-off of 366 Days of Container Plants!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 364 of 365 Days of Container Gardening

Sitting at Boxwood Bistro tonight waiting for my friend and had to snap a picture of these simple, pretty, and easy windowboxes. The Proven Winners plant won't be hard to find in this one. And check back tomorrow to learn the answer to all the mystery plants and see how you can win my Grand Finale Giveaway!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 363 - Wordless Wednesday

If you don't know why I want you to try and guess the Proven Winners plant in this container, scroll down to The Great 365 Days of Container Gardening Giveaway and see what all the fun is about. Only two more days to have fun guessing (you don't have to have a correct answer to win; you just need to comment on day 365). By the way, Darla is on a roll!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 362 - These Fourteen Hour Workdays Are Wearing Me Out!

But fall is high planting time so I'm glad I have a job and there is plenty of work to do.

These are some containers that my co-worker, Yelena, did last spring.

I got to enjoy them today while I was planting pansies in front of this client's home.

And there is a Proven Winners plant amongst all that beauty that you get to guess at. Only 3 more days until all those good guessers get to find out if they were right!

If you don't know why I want you to try and guess the Proven Winners plant in this container, scroll down to The Great 365 Days of Container Gardening Giveaway and see what all the fun is about.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 361 - In Honor of the (Historically) Driest Month of the Year

I'm thinking I need to do 365 Days of Molbak Garden and Home store. I love this place! Thank you, Alison Conliffe, for taking the group to this store! Here's a succulent bowl from Molbak's that was very striking.
This might be a tougher Proven Winners plant to name.
If you don't know why I want you to try and guess the Proven Winners plant in this container, scroll down to The Great 365 Days of Container Gardening Giveaway and see what all the fun is about.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 360 - Let the Countdown Begin

I have to be honest with you (ok, I've probably been a little TOO honest with you over the years) but I'm feeling a little superficial. As I sit here writing about the AWESOME countdown to day 365 and the big Giveaway, I'm thinking about my precious daughter-in-law. Alexandra, the first of my two daughter-in-laws, has a countdown going of her own. Except hers carries a greater weight of significance than my silly little countdown. You see, in 49 days her darling husband, who is also my darling son, will be returning from 8 months of military duty in Afghanistan. So I'm thinking that my little flower container countdown will mean that in reality, at Day 365, we're only 44 more days away until Jonathan comes home.
And the hint for today's Proven Winner's plant for you to guess - the cultivar name of this plant is also the name of this darling son's favorite fruit when he was growing up.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 359 - PJ's Windowboxes - End of September Beauty

This Proven Winners plant is my friend PJ's favorite. Hint: this color pops ;)
If you don't know why I want you to try and guess the Proven Winners plant in this container, scroll down to The Great 365 Days of Container Gardening Giveaway and see what all the fun is about.


When Life Reflects Fiction

It was like a scene taken from the literary files of William Goldings' Lord of the Flies. We are sitting around a table trying to work out details for upcoming projects: we are not children on a deserted island but are equals in our positions having to work out the details that have been previously outlined for us to accomplish. The interaction begins as to who needs what to survive - which in the business world means getting your assigned tasks done in the time allotted with efficiency and quality output. A tense debate ensues as I begin to stress that we have a guideline to follow - of course I see myself as the protagonist, insisting that we follow the rules set before us and work as a civilized group toward the common good. The antagonist of the group proclaims that he is a realist - that what must be done is based on his reality of what he sees to be done. It is his greater knowledge of what lies before us that we must follow, protecting us from the "Beast", otherwise known as our ignorance of all the needs and demands upon him that he must fullfill to portray his supremacy in our group.
It is an interesting dynamic and I find within myself that survival instinct, to fall into his modus operandi and fight for my way - which would be to follow the guidelines set before us. While I still can self-righteously proclaim that I am fighting for the common good, my instinct is ruled more by anger, which proves ineffective in a business workplace and causes me to lose proper perspective.
I come to realize that I am not going to get much support for my position from others at the table when there arises the character most like Golding's Piggy who, while not given to fighting, is a peace-maker at heart and helps to bring us to a workable solution.
In the end, what the antagonist seems not to realize is that his tasks are brought to fruition not by only his own hand but because of the tireless effort of the group. Much was sacrificed so that he could succeed.
Golding shows that fiction is just daily reality with names and locations changed.