We thought of you today. We said your name. We hugged each other. We smiled when we spoke of you, and we also shed some tears. Those tough-looking construction crews we have, well, they shed tears, too.
We tried to figure out how to make the office run without you. We’ll make it work, but who will greet everyone with a smile? Who will be cheerful every single day of the year? How will Nugget, our little office dog, cope without her mommy? Where’s the barefoot beach music? And who will wear tiaras at work?
It feels like you left us so quickly and with nothing. But that’s not true. You left us with lessons on how to live and love each other with small gestures. You left us with memories we will hold dear. You left your gentle spirit in our hearts.
Remembering our office manager and beloved friend.
Hi Everyone! I’m keeping it brief this week as I am heading out of the office, out of the country actually, to a place called Rum Point. What a great name for a town! I’m betting they have rum, in fact I’m hoping they do.
Thanksgiving is fast becoming my favorite holiday. How did it beat Christmas? Because it’s the only holiday that hasn’t been commercialized. It’s about being grateful. It’s about getting together to enjoy family and food. It’s taking the time to count our blessings, of which I have many. Family who are like friends. Friends who are like family. Grown children thriving in their careers and lives. Precious grand-kiddos. A job and colleagues that I love like family, and the great clients that make it fun. And especially celebrating forty years of marriage with my best friend.
See you in two weeks…unless I can find a job doing landscaping in the tropics, or launch a new career as a snorkel guide, or work at a tiki bar, or… A girl can dream.
OK, so I’m a fair-weather gardener. Truth be told, I’m a fair-weather everything. I don’t like to be cold.
But this morning as the sun rose, the entire world around me was covered in a sparkly blanket of frost. Everything glistened. The air was crisp and clean. Against my usual instinct to hibernate, I bundled up in my warmest parka and with camera in hand I set out to capture the magic of the earth settling down for its winter nap under a blanket of twinkling ice crystals.
Sure, this means the end of the season, and yes, all the tender plants, annuals, hostas, and my basil will go to mush. But it has a beauty of its own. And it’s so fleeting. In a few short minutes as the sun rose, it melted away. I’m so glad I braved the cold and did my walk-about on this chilly early morning.
We have a guy on our staff, let’s call him Eric. Because that is his name. Now normally, if you ask Eric to do something, his reply is the same, “That we can do!”. He is the most “can do” person I know. Cheerful, helpful and will do his best to make everyone happy. Lots of people at our company are like Eric in that way.
Now, I should also tell you that Eric is a lover of animals. Actually, most of the people at our company are like Eric in this respect as well.
Once in a while we encounter something in the course of our work that Eric won’t do. If there is a bird’s nest with eggs or baby birds, we won’t disturb the little bird family, or cut down their tree. We’ll wait until they’ve grown up and flown away, and then come back to finish the job.
This past summer we even had to work around a snapping turtle nest right in the middle of our work zone.
As it turns out, there’s a limit to Eric’s “can do” attitude.
“I collect spores, molds and fungus.” I laughed at that line from Ghostbusters. What kind of nerd does that? The good kind, apparently. I sometimes get calls because there is mold growing in someone’s mulch. It looks like, well, pardon this comparison, but it looks like dog vomit. Or creepy orange and black fingers. Or little round shot-gun dots from artillery fungus on plants and siding.
Dog vomit slime mold
Before anyone gets in a panic, there is nothing unusual or wrong with mold in mulch. It does no harm to plants or humans. It is a natural process of the wood breaking down. I explain that to folks and that’s were my work ends.
But, those nerds have taken it one step further. They collect it. They study it. They make it into useful stuff.
Weird but true – some of our most important medicines come from spores, mold and fungus. Where would we be without penicillin – probably the most famous of useful molds. Anybody on a blood thinner like Warfarin? That also comes from mold. And rat poison – Warfarin’s cousin? Also from mold. And that shot-gun fungus coming from your mulch and peppering your plants and siding with its dots? Well, that’s being studied by scientist for its remarkable adhesive properties that put Velcro to shame.
Don’t be dissing your mold. Maybe it holds the key to our next scientific breakthrough. Or you can just rake it up. Your call.
At the time, it seemed like a good idea: bell bottoms, polyester, platform shoes. Fashions come and go. So, you update your wardrobe. Your hairstyle. You get a new car. You probably have a smart phone. Your computer is always doing updates. So, when’s the last time you updated your outdoors?
Those timber walls only last so long before rotting. And the yews? Everyone planted them in the 60’s and 70’s and now they look dated. The shrubs are overgrown. And you’re tired of constantly cutting everything back. It’s time. Time for an update. Refresh the look of your home and let us help you choose materials and plants that will give you a new look and lower your maintenance, too!
At this time of year people ask us to cover their plants with burlap to protect them from deer. Or from wind, or snow, or salt spray.
Sure, we’ll do it. And in the spring, we’ll undo it. And do it all over again next year. And the year after that and the year after that and…
Here’s what I don’t like about that plan: it costs a lot of money, and half the year that beautiful landscape is covered in ugly brown burlap and it looks like a yard full of sacks of potatoes.
Burlap on bush
A better idea is to select plants that are deer resistant, that thrive in our climate, and look good in all seasons. We can help you plan for the right plant for the right spot to make your yard look good all year ‘round and not look like a bunch of ugly brown potato sacks.
That saying implies anger, rage, all ugly feelings. But this week as I walked and drove around, I felt awe, joy, and all good emotions. Don’t you just love this time of year when the whole world seems drenched in fall colors? It’s good to see red.
Every fall I go overboard. Ok, so I go overboard other times, too. But I’m kind of known for my fall displays. In fact, one of our sons brought a new girl over to meet us, and to show off how crazy (in a nice way) that we decorate for fall.
You can do it, too. It’s a quick, easy way to dress up your yard and bring in tons of color when everything else is turning brown and dying. $50 worth of pumpkins and gourds goes a long way to adding seasonal color.
Don’t just save pumpkin carving for Halloween. If you carve into the surface and leave the insides intact, your pumpkin will last for weeks, long after the mums have faded. If you need help, I’d love to give your home some color and fun that goes way beyond mums.
Ever notice how a waft of some fragrance can bring you back to a long-ago time and place? That’s because the fragrance center of our brain is right next door to the memory center of our brain. When the fragrance center lights up, so do the memories.
When planning a garden, I like to appeal to all our senses: visual, sound, touch, and smell. And maybe bring us on a mental journey back to another place and time, like memories of childhood or grandma’s garden.
Here are a few plants that are not only a feast for the eyes, but music to my nose:
‘Stargazer’ and other Asiatic lilies, Lilacs, Fringe tree, Katsura tree, Lily of the Valley, Linden trees, Old-fashioned roses (love ‘Jude the Obscure’ by David Austin) peonies, hyacinth, and lavender.