Friday, January 30, 2009

Daisy Girls

Prairie Sun Rudbeckia 

It's seed planting time! Fresh seeds for the ever-growing Daisy garden are percolating in my sunny window.

I've been eagerly anticipating Friday ever since the Monday morning alarm went off. Life is busier than I think it should be. That's had me a tad grumpy all week long.

Forced to cancel Friday Afternoon [hiking] Club. On this bright & sunny, winter day I've been shackled to the computer doing all sorts of must do's vs. want to do's.

Giant Painted Daisies ~ Last year's batch bloomed in neurotic pink. Hoping for bright, happy red this time around.

It's been an odd week. Bad Dog took a road trip to Vegas. The dog gets invited on vacations and I do not. Go figure.

In the dismal little town of Mesquite, Nevada he experienced his first ever In & Out Burger. Has refused to eat kibble ever since.

White Knight Shasta Daisies: 3 feet high with the biggest blooms you've ever seen.

Some things I simply cannot bring myself to spend money on. Expensive gallon pots of Daisies, during gardening season, being one of those things. These gals bloom about the same time, at about the same height (3 feet tall) and if I were to purchase these one gallon bloomers in springtime it would set me back about $200. Or, $3.89 for the seeds.

Here's hoping you all have a marvelous weekend. I have to work. :(

Monday, January 26, 2009

6th Folder Meme & The Fantasy Life

Get Lost Cottage #6
Dunkineely, Ireland

Sounds kind of silly but it wasn't until I purchased a scanner that I began to recognize who I am and what I want out of life. That's when I started sorting through boxes and boxes of old photographs. In that jumbled mess of photos were about a dozen postcards of adorable cottages from places I had visited.

I have an entire collection of imaginary homes, cozy little cottages where I'd like to live if it were ever possible to get lost for awhile. And, I never even knew I was collecting them!

What's this all about?

I've been meme'd by my thoughtful friend, Jeannie, [who interestingly enough seems to have a thing for little cottages, too.]

The 6th Folder Meme Rules couldn't be simpler:
1) Go to the 6th folder on your computer.
2) Select the 6th picture in that folder.
3) Write about it.

Hmmm... What if you don't have 6 folders?

At the end of the day I shove stuff into 1 of 2 places and that's that. Oh, I know what you're thinking: that sounds terribly disorganized. But, it's not.

You see, I don't have very many good ideas.

So, they're all right at my fingertips should I ever need to dust one off!

PS: This is Get Lost Cottage #14. (Kauai, Hawaiian Islands.)

And, now for the pass it on list. Let's see what you find in your 6th folders:
Clueless Crafter, Focused on Fur, Hemline, Iron Needles, Minnesota Gardener, Walking Prescott.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sundancing & Dirt! The Movie

10 days out of every year I get to be a film critic.

That's because I live in the tiny little town where this guy hosts his Sundance Film Festival.

Everywhere you turn you'll see a famous face.

Each year I discover that another tall, handsome, leading man is actually very short in real life.

This year it was Pierce Brosnan. For crying out loud! He was 007! Only in Hollywood can you cast a 5' 7" 007 and make it work.

Along with hundreds of hugely entertaining independent films there are some pretty incredible documentaries, as well.

Like the Slovenian who decided to swim the entire Amazon river. Or, the the gutsy team who risked it all to expose Japan's despicable secret about the dolphins.

Dirt! The Movie
There was even a documentary about dirt. Yup. Dirt. Wars over dirt. Movements to save the dirt. Astonishing facts about just how much of our dirt, (i.e. topsoil) has up and gone away.

I thought it was so marvelous I'm joining the club. Gettin' down and dirty with all my new found friends.

Dirt! The Movie doesn't have a prayer of winning anything at Sundance - they're up against huge talent in more popular categories.

But, every gardener will love this. So pay 'em a visit! Click here to watch the clips.

Oh, and while you're at it... join their club. :)

Pierce Brosnan's performance in the Sundance movie, The Greatest, was nothing short of spectacular. And so was Susan Sarandon's.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Winter Whites

"Two seasonal diversions can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other, seed catalogues." - Hal Borland

My garden is asleep under a blanket of white. I flip through catalogs, making plans for warmer months.

I want every flower in those catalogs and I won't whittle down my list until it's official someone else has won the lottery.

I peer out my window, keeping tabs on the ancient arbor, stripped of flowers until next spring. It's listing to the left but so far shows no sign of tumbling.

I'll bet you're wondering why I planted pear trees next to a flower arbor. Well, that was before I knew what I was doing. (Though I'm not so sure I currently know what I'm doing.)

Frosty Kokopelli plays a tune in my sleepy garden. In Hopi legend, Koko travels from village to village bringing the change of season, from winter to spring.

If that is true, then Koko should walk slow so as not to foil his own magic.

Gardening is 5 long months away, though I don't mind. The days are so warm we hike toward the old stone house with jackets tied around our waists.

Mornings glitter with frosty diamonds on all the trees.

And, we gardeners can happily hibernate! Just like the bears ~ while we scheme and dream and wrestle with flowering plans for the coming season.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Orchids Celestial

"There are orchids terrestrial and orchids celestial...." So says Mr. Sanders, Britain's most distinguished authority on Orchids (120 years ago.*)

Woman does not live by bread alone. Plentifully garnished baked potatoes, maybe, but definitely not bread.

I marched into the grocery store hell bent on the idea of staying within my bare bones [read: BORING] budget when what should I encounter but an orchid sale. This is hardly fair, I grumbled to myself, as I stood there drooling over those luscious purple petals.

You'd think I could get through the first half of the first month without blowing my budget but no can do!

Meet the new love of my life! Phalaenopsis something or other.

I've always been a little afraid of orchids. Convinced they'd be quite easy to kill. That's why I was digging around online for orchid instructions when I discovered this marvelous article, published by the New York Times in 1888. Click here to read it.

* Orchids celestial.... Mr. Sanders, was talking about my orchid and how it lives in the high tree canopies in it's natural environment. That's what inspired me to haul the pretty girl out onto the deck to let her feel high in the sky, if only for a moment, before it got too cold.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Livin' Large

Tall, green & handsome! 10 foot tall Uncle Henry is at it again.

I donned my heaviest jacket and a sturdy pair of boots. Then I pulled on some seriously protective leather gloves. Because today was the day... to take Uncle Henry for a walk.

He's a spiny old fella who's discovered his second childhood. I conducted a bit of liposuction on him this year, removing about 50 pounds of tall, prickly branches.

Henry is an African Milk Tree. The old geezer started out as one of those tiny, dollar cactus plants ~ now he's about 10 feet tall. Every holiday, I kick him out of his sunny window, making a place for the Christmas tree. Today, he's back in his favorite hot spot.

The name 'milk tree' comes from the really nasty white sap that runs from his stems when you give him a haircut. Don't - whatever you do - rub your eyes or get that stuff on your skin. It's mighty painful.

According to West African folklore, sharing a slice of Uncle Henry brings both parties good luck. So, I've been trying to give him away forever, but everybody says no. Which hurts my feelings and Henry's, too. He's not that ugly...

* Euphorbia trigona African Milk Tree: water every week or so. To propagate, place a cut stem into the soil, skip the watering for a week and he'll grow an entirely new plant.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Virtual Botanical Gardens

A couple years ago, I read that Microsoft was conducting screening interviews with people's Avatars in Second Life. In classic curmudgeon form I muttered to myself:

What the heck is an Avatar? And, what is Second Life?

If you're familiar with Second Life you can find me here. Near the ocean on my purple [velvet!] lounge chair, in the Botanical Gardens.

I hate to be the last one to know what's cooking. So, I downloaded Second Life [think of it as a computer game on steroids,] and I created an Avatar ~ which is just an imaginary me.

How often does one have the freedom to lounge beneath a Wisteria tree?

In Second Life, I discovered a place called the Botanical Gardens where I can take my little Avatar for a walk.

Heading toward a greenhouse.

The really fun aspect of this is that I'm literally tip-toeing through the tulips!

Enjoying the rush of a waterfall.

It's a beautiful, expansive, blooming garden by the sea. With sounds of birds and rushing water, ocean waves and gentle rains. As I wander around here, I grow more and more impressed with the artists who created this lovely place. I've read that it took them several years. Which makes sense. It takes a long time to grow a garden!

I wish I knew how to talk to these people in the first life, because I'd love to join in the fun.

PS: They even have a riding club. :)
* This one is for you, Omega - something interesting to explore on a bitterly cold Alaska winter day. Bonus! It's free.

PLEASE NOTE: As with any internet community, this joint has it's fair share of oddballs and weirdos but you don't have to interact with anyone. I'm not very familiar with Second Life because I only frequent the Botanical Gardens and the stables. I figure if an Avatar loves flowers and horses they can't be all bad.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Beginnings

"Oxygen into your lungs can bring fresh hope into your heart." ~ an Anonymous smart person

After a big couple o' weeks it's been hard to get back into the groove again. We're digging ourselves out from under a mountain of snow, cleaning up what feels like a mountain of holiday mess.

While shoveling and scrubbing and so on, I kept thinking about this new year and what the big ideas should be. Some say it's better not to make resolutions but I feel that's terribly short sighted.

How do you accomplish big things if you don't make a list, check it twice, then announce it to the entire world so they can give you hell when you don't follow through?

Furry Girl and I are pledging to lose a little bit o' weight and we've got an exercise program that actually works. It's called the Friday Afternoon Club or 'My how time flies when you're having fun.'

We've been slapping on the snowshoes and traipsing all over the place. Hard work but lots of fun. I don't even notice I've been out there for 3 or 4 hours. (And, THAT is what exercise should be all about.)

My grand plan is to a lose one pound per month for 12 months. If I lose more than one pound in any given month I'll break all speed records on my way to Wendy's for an order of Biggie Fries.

But, that's the least of my grand plans. Most importantly, I hope to...
  • Install a water feature.
  • Finish Rock Garden II.
  • Hybridize my very own Columbine.
  • Grow all my summer veggies.
  • Go on vacation with the horse!

If you're planning to be more active this year, turn the great outdoors into your gym. A walk in the woods (or the park) is infinitely more enjoyable than being cooped up indoors. Bonus! It's free.