My Mom and Dad live in Holland, Michigan . . . a city on the shore of Lake Michigan . . . home to Hope College (where Brian goes to school) . . . and host of the annual Tulip Time Festival.
When my kids were little, I used to dress them up in their traditional Dutch costumes (just for the record: we are NOT Dutch) and stick them in the tulips for annual photos. (Tourists and bus tour folks used to line up behind me, snapping shots of my "authentic little Dutch kids." Always cracked me up!)
(Little Erin and Little Brian, circa 1994.)
After my Mom retired, she decided she might want to volunteer at Tulip Time. So I sewed another authentic Dutch costume (seriosuly . . . there are "authentic Dutch costume patterns" and "authentic Dutch costume fabrics" to choose from), and my Mom bought herself a pair of authentic Dutch wooden shoes.
And now, each year during Tulip Time, you can find her . . . working with her pals . . . in the Tulip Time Information Booth in downtown Holland!
So, if you're ever visiting Holland to see the tulips . . . and you want directions . . . or a map . . . or advice on where to grab a bite . . . or a pint . . . stop by and say HI to my Mom!
She'll be there -- tiptoeing through the tulips in her wooden shoes!
Two weekends ago, I headed to the campus of Michigan State University for a day-long garden design conference sponsored by the MSU Horitculture Gardens. The conference was wonderful - inspiring and informative. During our lunch break, I took advantage of the first nice spring day we'd had this season, and took a walk in the gardens.
And stumbled onto this. . .
I discovered that the MSU Hort Gardens had been bombed . . .by knitting!
It was so delightful!
There were even little knit bees in the trees.
It was such fun to watch the reactions of other garden visitors when they stumbled onto the trees-sporting-knitting! They were surprised. And delighted. And really, really curious!
I think my favorite vacations involve a trip to the beach. From the humble beach at my little lakefront cottage . . . to the gorgeous beaches of Maui . . . I just love spending time at the water's edge. It's calm, and peaceful, and restorative.
And, lucky for me, I live in Michigan. . . where we have beautiful beaches all around us!
Sand. Surf. Sunshine.
Beautiful views. Perfect sunsets. But no salt water!
When my niece was visiting earlier in August, Brian and I took her to South Haven for an afternoon on the shores of Lake Michigan (where all of these photos where taken). We had a fabulous time.
This week, Carole has us thinking about Ten Things To Do At The Beach. Here's what I like to do. . .
Just kick back and relax.
Listen to the sounds of the water and the seagulls.
Walk the beach in the surf.
Play in the water and the waves.
Work on my tan.
Read a little.
Maybe take a nap.
Engage in some serious people-watching.
Find inspiration with my camera.
But, mostly, just a whole lot of . . . nothing!
Wouldn't it be nice? Oh, yeah!
How about YOU? What do you like to do at the beach?
Last week, we spent several days up north at our cottage. A couple of those days were "work days" (painting inside, staining the exterior, "lumberjack-ing," organizing, sorting through, and more organizing -- I'll fill you in some other day). But. We were also able to spend some time relaxing on the lake and getting our fill of Up North time.
I found these to be surprisingly tasty out on the lake!
Jenny loves being Up North with us -- whatever we're doing.
She likes going out in the pontoon boat. She likes hanging out at the fire pit. She likes going for walks in the woods. She likes to swim and wade in the lake. She likes to just crash and watch movies with us in the evenings.
But most of all, she likes . . .
In the past, we have tried taking Jenny out in the canoe or kayaks, but it just hasn't worked. She likes the water too much to sit still. She rocks the boat. . . with her moving about. She tries to take drinks from the lake . . . while IN the kayak. She jumps out mid-ride. She has not been a reliable passenger --- but, of course, she also doesn't like to be left behind.
Last weekend, Brian wanted to take the kayak out. Jenny jumped right in.
And wouldn't get out!
She behaved better than ever, and Brian was actually able to take her out for a little spin.
I have a feeling. . .
that we'll never be able to get in the kayak without Jenny again!
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!
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!