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May 2012

April 2012

Digging for Grubs

The summer that Jenny was a puppy, my garden really took a hit.

Jenny Day 1 008

Oh, she was adorable and all (which was a Good Thing for her), but she mashed my daylilies flat.  She leaped through my hostas.  She dug out anything new I planted. . . and dragged it through the yard.

Jenny 025

She was always, always rooting around in my garden.  From the very first, she had a "thing" for my hostas.  She liked to hide in them.  And then leap out!

Jenny Day 1 016

And when she crashed, she often crashed in among the hostas!

Jenny Day 1 001

I thought my gardening days were doomed . . . by an adorable puppy.  But, over the years, Jenny has become my faithful gardening companion.

Oh, she still likes to sneak off with my gardening gloves or an empty plastic pot and run wild through the yard.  But the days of digging up and rooting through and leaping into my plants are over.

Jenny loves to be . . . involved. . . with gardening.


This past weekend, Tom helped me plant (let's be clear -- I pointed, Tom planted) several hostas (generously shared by my Mom and Dad) in a new garden bed.  And who was right there. . . helping every step of the way?


Why, Jenny the Gardening Dog, of course!

I noticed she was doing a lot of nosing about in the upturned soil.  With great interest!


Turns out she was hunting grubs! 

After trying one, she decided to leave them for the robins.  But she did have a lot of fun digging for them, and then just sort of . . . leaving them. . . laying willy-nilly around the new garden bed.

Much better than flattening the hostas, that's for sure!

Back Home Again!


Carole's back from her vacation. . . meaning Ten on Tuesday is back . . . with a vacation-related topic!  This week, Carole has us thinking about 10 Good Things About Coming Home From a Vacation.

London trip 005
I really like vacations, and I really like traveling to far away places.  But I also like coming home!  Here are 10 things I like best . . . about being back home again:

  1. Being reunited with Jenny (there's nothing like a greeting from your dog!)
  2. Sleeping in my own bed  (ahhhhhh!  and my own pillow, too!)
  3. Drinking my local tap water (that familiar taste -- and no pathogens!)
  4. Not eating in restaurants (sure, it's fun for a time. . . but after a while, it gets old)
  5. Being in the "right" time zone (I hates the jet lag!)
  6. Not living out of a suitcase (I like to dive back in to the full spectrum of my closet)
  7. Reliable internet and cell phone service (although this is getting better all the time)
  8. Downloading and organizing your trip photos (almost as good as being there!)
  9. Going through the mail (even though it's mostly junk)
  10. Getting back to my regular routine (creature of habit, I am!)

How about YOU?  What do you like about returning home from a vacation?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

Road Trip!

When most people think of Michigan. . . they think of cars.


And, sure.  There is that.  But. . . Southwest Michigan is more famous for being the Bedding Plant Capital of the World!

And, what does that mean for me? 

Why, it means I'm in Fat City when it comes to high-quality plant material!  It means that I live smack-dab in the middle of some of the best nurseries in the world!   And it means that I look forward to Opening Day for all my favorite nurseries with the same kind of passion that fuels. . . 

  • Hunters awaiting the opening of "gun season."
  • Fisherman looking forward to "The Trout Opener."
  • Shoppers camping out for "Black Friday."

It means that I collect my Opening Day announcements and Early Bird coupons; it means that I mark dates and times on my calendar; it means that my friend Sandie and I have many strategy discussions over coffee; it means . . .


Even though we have plenty of WONderful nurseries right here in Kalamazoo, Sandie and I traditionally start the nursery season with a road trip to some of our favorite remote nurseries.  This year was no exception, as we hit the road bright and early Saturday morning . . . discount coupons in hand!

First stop. . .


Hidden Grove in West Olive, Michigan.

Grab a cup of coffee, and come along with us!


Hidden Grove is a wonderful nursey with high-quality perennials


fun little garden tchotchkes and beautiful pots


and aisle after aisle


after greenhouse after greenhouse


of great plants for every spot in your garden!  They also have great demonstration gardens out on their property, although it's a bit early in the season to really explore them.

They also have the most stunning array of succulents EVER.


This is only one of several rows of succulents.  (I may have had a bit of a falling down in the succulent sections.)

They also have a gorgeous selection of begonias.  I think I'll take . . .  THIS one!


Next, we swung over to WW Greenhouses, which is probably my first-love when it comes to nurseries.  (Our first house was less than a mile away from this place.  I spent many an afternoon, dragging Toddler Erin and Baby Brian through WW!)


WW's tagline is "The Perennial People" . . . and they aren't kidding!  They have a great selection of perennials, native plants, pond plants, and annuals that will just knock your socks off!


WW always EXPLODES with color.


Their greenhouses go on for acres!  They do a wonderful job with demonstration gardens -- both inside and out.




Their hanging baskets and containers are inspiring!  The best I've seen -- and, trust me, I've seen a LOT of great hanging baskets at various nurseries in the area.



They even have butterflies and birds.  It's just a delight.


(The Japanese Forest Grass came home with me; sadly, the Red Admiral did not.)

And here's the funny part.  We weren't going to buy anything at WW.  We were just goiing to look.



Here's Sandie with her cart!  Mine was significantly less full, but still. . .


We definitely pushed the limits of Sandie's new Prius -- and have dubbed it the Official Flower Wagon of All Road Trips!


Now. . . if only the weather would warm up so we could get rid of the frost warnings!


There's No Place Like Paris

A year ago, I was just returning from a lovely trip to Paris (and Amsterdam!) with my sister. 


We've both found our thoughts returning to Paris lately.  I think it's just something about . . . Paris in the spring.  Such a perfect time. . . to be in such a perfectly delightful place!

For my birthday (a few weeks ago), my sister created a lovely memory of our time together in Paris.


She even included some unbelievably wicked Parisienne chocolat!


Oo la la!


Such lovely reminders of our lovely time in Paris!

Last week I found this card. . . and sent it to my sister.


There really isn't, you know.

(And, no offense to any Kansans out there, but Paris is a much more exotic destination to wish for . . . if you have a pair of Ruby Red Slippers!)

Enjoy your weekend!

3-fer Thursday

Last week, Patty posted Thursday Three-fers.  What a great idea!  So great. . . I'm copying her!

Here goes. . .

Three Things I WISH I Were Doing. . .


  1. Sipping a café crème at a Paris café.
  2. Sipping a piña colada on a Belize beach.
  3. Weeding in my garden beds.

Three Things I'm ACTUALLY Doing. . .


  1. Tying up a thousand loose ends.
  2. Convincing people to do things they don't want to do.
  3. "Attending" a "webinar" I don't have time for.  (But, really.  Who ever has time for the Cultural Data Project?)

Three Things I'm GRATEFUL For. . .


  1. Remote computer connections (especially when they work).
  2. A dog at my feet.
  3. A glass of wine and a few rows of knitting at the end of a long (long) day.

I wish you all a great Thursday!

Not a Clue

On Friday, I had an unexpected day off.  Which meant. . . I got to see this. . .


My two chemists. . . talking chemistry. . . together!


Tom is a chemist.  Brian is a chemistry major at Hope College, where he is working in the lab on a research project with one of his professors.  Last Friday, he was able to present his work at a "poster session" at the Hope College Research Celebration.


It's a great experience for Brian -- all the way around.  To be able to be involved in this type of research as an undergraduate is just wonderful (and the reason he went to Hope in the first place).  And to be able to present his work in this format is just icing on the cake!


Tom (who has a PhD in organic chemistry, himself) was so proud!

And me?


Not a clue!  I have no idea what they're doing or what they're talking about or what any of it means.  But it really doesn't matter.  I was thrilled to be along for the ride!


An Unexpected Gift


I have just been given an unexpected gift.

As many of you surmised from yesterday's post about the state of my desk, I am currently riding (full steam ahead!) the Crazy Train.  And . . . I'm going to be aboard for a few more weeks.

Today, though, two things happened.  First, my regular Friday morning class at the gym was canceled.  Second, my friend Sandie and I rescheduled a long-planned nursery visit out of town.

This means. . . a full day has unexpectedly opened up before me!

This reprieve is Just What I Need.

Time. . . to attend to a few small details. . . to regenerate. . . to prepare for what's ahead.  Maybe I'll walk through the garden.  Knit a few rows.  Finish a book.*

It feels good . . . to have some pressure released.  Even if just for a day!  The sun is shining.  The garden is blooming.  And, suddenly, my weekend is beginning!

Hope you enjoy yours, too!


* But no clearing off of the desk!