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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

For my international friends 

The BBC News is holding a contest for participants to design an eco-friendly garden. According to the article, they want folks "to come up with a garden which is a relaxing green space for you, your family and friends, uses natural resources in a sustainable way and encourages a wide range of plant and wildlife". Entries will be based on climate, species diversity, materials, aesthetics, and practicality. One winner will receive a copy of The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, by the Henry Doubleday Research Foundation and will be featured in the BBC News. Closing date for entries is January 21, 2005. Good luck and let me know how you fare. Happy Gardening.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas on the Levee 

My mother is a southern belle - she grew up in a little town called Gramercy located in Louisiana. In fact, she and her siblings were born on plantations in St. James Parish. Anyway, Gramercy is about 15 feet above sea level, and skims the Mississippi River. The town is surrounded by a levee, about 40 feet high, that holds the Mississippi back from flooding the town.

A Christmas tradition exists in St. James Parish and it's quite amazing to see. The townfolk build structures such as teepees (most common), firetrucks, log cabins, etc. and, as darkness settles on Christmas Eve, they are set fire to light the way for Papa Noel. Then everyone goes to the Gramercy Fire Dept. for gumbo and other goodies. Gramercy is known as the Bonfire Capital of the World. This tradition goes back many, many years and I have been lucky enough to witness it at least twice. Now that my folks are living here in Florida and many of our aunts and uncles are gone, we find fewer reasons to visit Gramercy so we miss the town and all the great people who live there. But we don't forget the awesome experience. Merry Christmas to everyone everywhere and Happy Gardening.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas. Ready for snow? 

Here's a site where you can make your own snowflakes rather than being at the mercy of the weather. Go visit Snowdays and have some fun designing. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Now I've "heard" everything 

Consider this. You go out to the garden and lose yourself in thought as you trim a shrub here, pick a flower there. Zen is all around. All of a sudden you start to hear ringing. What's that you ask as you shake your head to come out of your reverie. And then it happens again - that incessant, mind-numbing ringing of a cell phone. Yikes!

I was reading through a magazine recently (sorry, but I can't find the article or I would link to it for you) and there was a short mention of a new gardening carrier. It's a "bucket" that allows you to carry all your needed tools around the yard with you so you're not searching for the trowel and all you have is your hoe. But this carrier is new age - it now includes a pocket for your cell phone. How nifty is that? Not! What happened to the zen of gardening? What happened to losing yourself in the beauty and quiet that surrounds you?

Now, don't get me wrong. I totally understand the need to be close to a phone. I share caregiving responsibility for my elderly parents and am never far from contact. But there's a time and place for everything. If one of my folks was ill, I would probably want to have my cell phone nearby. Otherwise, I go into the house frequently enough and the ringer on our phone is loud enough that if someone is trying to reach me I feel fairly certain that they could do so quickly. So, here's my thought on the subject. Nix the phone unless there is a family emergency. Wrap yourself in the spirituality of the garden. Take advantage of the zen so you can go back to the world feeling refreshed and ready to endure those nagging, mind-numbing rings. And, if you want to buy the new carrier? Put a bottle of wine in it instead. That will really contribute to the zen. Happy Gardening.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Murry Hill 5 is back 

One of my fellow bloggers is back online! Murray Hill 5 surprised me one day by listing me as one of her favorite reads. I was so pleased by the mention and impressed by her site that I made sure to mention her and add her link to my links page. Deb took a break in August after her baby arrived and I wasn't sure if she would be back or not. But sure enough she's been posting for about a week and includes a recent pic of the babe. Go visit her site when you can.

Friday, December 10, 2004

What did she say??? 

Abby Bartlet looks at Jeb, during a West Wing episode, and says "You go from nothing to say, to I have too much to say, to I have to study agriculture, to I don't give a damn????" Well, that's kinda how I've been feeling lately. Sometimes it's difficult to come up with a subject for the blog. And other times I have so many things I want to talk about I don't even know where to begin. So the blog will sit for a week or so while I'm eating bon bons (yeah right). The truth is I'll sit here and make a list of things that I really want to write about and then it's all about finding the time to do it. Between working all week (my day job gets in the way), working on house projects all weekend and being an early-to-bed kind of person, I'm having a tough time sitting back and talking about one of the things I love best - gardening.

Anyway, enough feeling sorry for myself... My Christmas cactus is blooming! My sister gave us Christmas cacti last year for, you guessed it, Christmas of all things. I was pretty excited about it knowing that cacti are pretty easy to take care of and don't need a lot of water as long as they get a lot of light. So in my usual smug I-know-so-much-about-gardening kind of way, I promptly went about killing the poor things. First I watered them and out on the front porch they went. Very shortly thereafter there were burn spots evident from the sun. Oops - too much light. So I brought them back into the kitchen. They seemed to be doing ok but looked dry so I watered. And so did my husband. And so did I - you get the picture. The plants were beginning to drown in our best efforts.

I happened to be visting my mother one day and recalled how her Christmas cactus is always blooming. She keeps hers in the bathroom window and it seems very happy there. Then it occurred to me - it must thrive on neglect! (Sorry Ma, but you know how you can be about things.) I vowed to begin neglecting my cacti as soon as I returned home. And ignore them I did. Sure enough one of the plants decided to start forming buds and it finally bloomed yesterday. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful christmas cactus flowers I have ever seen. It's an unusual coral color with a fuchia stamen - just gorgeous. So it just goes to show you - just when you think you know something you learn that a little bit of knowledge along with 75 cents may get you one small cup of coffee. Happy Gardening.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Blog is the #1 word 

Did you know that "blog" is the number one word researched in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? Yep. Folks are coming to understand the power of the web - a place for them to share their personal thoughts, hobbies, and knowledge among many other things. Kinda goes hand in hand with the question "why we blog". Happy Gardening.

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