The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 8

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love promised me

 8 hours of yard work without a complaint in the air!
(as soon as he gets off the phone and quits playing with the puppy…)
Is this where we say, “It’s the thought that counts?”

Indiana Wants Me…

and, yes, I would go back there. 
We were busy as bees checking out the Indianapolis Museum of Art

We found love at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

 Every pathway at the IMA frames a piece of beauty.

Sweetgum tree Liquidambar styraciflua “Slender Silhouette is a striking form that the IMA has built their entry annual bed around – filled with Canna, Princess grass, Dahlias, Peppermint Stick grass, other grasses

The Buddleia (butterfly bush) seemed to be unfazed by Indy’s heat and drought.

More on the delights of Indianapolis to come – right now my computer is acting like its attention span got lost in one of the cornfields around Indy so I’ll post more when I get better internet connection.

To Be-gonia or Not to Be-gonia, That is the Question

Begonias get a bad rap, and I am partly to blame. As the new Floriculture Director of Landscape Services, Inc, I have a tendency to take on a snobbish disdain for the plebeian bronze-leaf or green-leaf wax begonia. But when push comes to 100 degree drought shove, these ordinary plants tend to hold up to extraordinary conditions. Then there are exotic rex begonias and the dreamy hybrids like Begonia ‘Bonfire’. 

 I choose “To Be…”

This unknown angel wing begonia is beautifully paired with a vibrant chartruese hosta.

The Champions at Home

I join the millions of Americans who have an every four year summer addiction to watching people pummel their bodies and minds to crazy extremes in the summer Olympics. I love the stories, I love the glimpse into the lives behind the champions, I love the dark horse champions who no one saw coming. What I’m really looking forward to are the olympic gardener events: speed weeding competitions and synchronized mowing. Can’t seem to find it on the line up….

This weekend I’ve stolen moments to watch who the champions inbetween fun cookouts and fireworks with friends on Friday night, Old Crow Medicine Show concert at Fontanel with another group of friends on Saturday night, and a dinner with a house full of teenagers tonight. But reality at home collided with the reality in London when I started thinking about the stories of what makes a champion.

Friday night out our cookout  included a family of six who left the next morning to take their sixteen year old daughter to compete in track at the Jr. Olympics in Houston, Texas. But their time and energy that evening were often taken up with their 18 year old autistic soon who could hardly wait for the fireworks display (we had to keep an eye on the constantly disappearing bag of fireworks). They discussed their plans for adopting a son from Russia and getting their oldest son settled into his college dorm room. As I looked at what makes a champion – the perseverance through difficulty, the positive attitude, building for the future, pressing on when others would quit – this family is olympic gold in my mind.

Saturday night we went out to eat at The Pharmacy in East Nashville and then on to the concert. A fun group that included my beautiful friend, who during her first year of residency after medical school, suffered a paralyzing injuring that has left her dependent on a wheelchair for everyday life. As we laughed at how we loved to go places with her because we got to always go to the front of the line and get great seats at the concert, our special privileges come at the price of my friend’s lifelong disability. Yet my friend is full of laughter, delightfully entertaining, an involved and caring mom to her teenage daughter, and a woman full of compassion to others around her. My friend Sara is a gold medal champion in life – a gold medal winner in life.

My friend Sara in the middle

Winners are all around us – let’s celebrate the champions in everyday life.

Surviving The Drought

 Just keeping plants alive during this drought has been a part time job. Here are few containers holding on and still looking good on my back patio.

Russellia, heuchera

Burgundy mandevilla, blueberry phlox, cuphea cha-cha, coralberry calibrachoa, sweet potato vine (sweet caroline)

The Rococo New Guinea Impatien (new from Viva plants) with its pretty ruffles petals

Book Giveaway with Fine Gardening Magazine

Here’s a chance to win a free copy of my book, Container Gardening for All Seasons – just read Billy Goodnick’s review of the book, then sign in and leave a comment on his Fine Gardening blog page and you’ll be entered to win! Thank-you, Billy, for getting the word out. And thank-you, Annie Haven, for adding a set of Haven Brand Compost Teas to the winning package! Click on link below to get to Billy’s blog: