Bzzzz October 27th, 2013

I went out this morning for my daily run/walk. I say “run/walk.” I used to say “run.” Now I say “run/walk.” It’s really “walk.” I am still in denial about the whole knee pain situation.

Anyway, I digress.

I went out this morning for my daily run/walk. Most days I listen to books via Audible on my iPhone while I run/walk because a good book with a compelling storyline and a talented reader who keeps me hanging on every word makes me want to keep run/walking so I don’t have to go inside and work/work. It’s a fabulous way to procrastinate/procrastinate and still feel a wee bit virtuous. I’m reading and exercising! In fact, I am pretty much on track to finish 100 Kindle, traditional and audiobooks this year as part of my Goodreads goal.

fall in the potager

Lemon grass and pineapple sage salvia in the potager – October

This morning I had to fumble a bit before getting Audible up and running. (Thank you iOS 7 for making me add a password.) While I was mashing virtual buttons on the minuscule screen without benefit of my reading glasses, I ran/walked several yards, not looking at the first thing except that tiny screen.

Suddenly it hit me. Smoke. Specifically, wood smoke from someone’s fireplace.

Now, I’m not big into fireplaces with smoke because of sensitive sinuses and a strong tendency to get painful sinus infections when exposed to smoke of any sort. But small doses of outside smoke from someone else’s fireplace a half mile away is rather nice. It says, “Fall!” It says, “Time to reflect and slow down.” It says, “Drink some hot chocolate and take a nap!”

It’s a smell with dozens of associations from childhood and from the happiest (and a few sad) times of my life. That smell was accompanied by the nature music of my feet brushing aside the fallen leaves as I walked up the driveway.

“Slow down!” I said to myself. (But don’t stop running/walking!)

I put away the iPhone and looked at the mosaic of colors—red, yellow, brown, green and every color of fall, punctuated by the occasional, fearless rose, salvia and celosia.

celosia cock's comb

Celosia–commonly called cock’s comb–in the potager

If I could bottle up that fantastical combination of smell, sound, fresh air, color—and the rush of the run/walk—I would be richer than Oprah.

Alas, no one has figured out how to capture the magic of Mother Nature, although artists, photographers, musicians and perfumers still try.

But I am still rich. I am rich because I can appreciate the gifts Mother Nature hands out for free to anyone willing to pause in their run/walk through life and appreciate it.




Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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Bzzzz August 29th, 2013

I am in the movies! Okay, not the big screen. More like the little screen—say, the size of your computer monitor. I and my garden are the subjects of a  video and Q&A story for Panera Bread’s new website and to promote their new “Live Consciously” campaign. (Update: The story and video have moved temporarily off the Panera website while they move things around. You can still see the video here on the Panera Youtube channel.

If you have one of those Panera guest cards that earns you discounts on sandwiches and free cookies, you probably received the same invitation to be in the (little) movies that I did. I received the email last fall. “Tell us about your hobby!”


Well, it was evening when I opened the email. I maybe had a glass of wine. Maybe two. I figured, “Hey, I’ll tell them I garden!” So I filled out their online form and rather than providing them with a bunch of answers to their open-ended questions, I referred them right here—to my garden blog.

Months went by and I didn’t hear anything. Frankly, I forgot about it as soon as I hit send. After all, gardening isn’t exactly an unusual hobby. Surely tons of gardeners wrote to tell the Panera folks about their rose gardens, their perennial gardens, their exotic gardens.

But then one day I received an email, “Hey, we want to come visit your vegetable garden, talk with you and make a garden video!”

There was a bit of back-and-forth and a few weeks later two videographers, an art director and account executive flew in from Boston and other parts north for a visit. They were at my house for nearly seven hours! For a two-minute video!

The older of my two Papillons, Sophie, was delighted at the opportunity to be in the movies. Sophie is one smart dog. She’s not the kind of smart dog who will do tricks. She’s the kind of dog who knows exactly how to make you do tricks.

During the interview portion of the shoot, which took about 20 minutes, Sophie sat right next to me, ears up and with her best I’m-ready-for-my-closeup smile on her face. Sarah was busy sniffing camera  bags and cables.


Sophie, the elder Papillon, never made it into the video.

Neither dog made it into a single shot!

The videographers were keen to see me work and move around, which was more than a little uncomfortable. The weeding was fine. I’m used to weeding. Sitting on my little stool and scratching out the unwanted weeds is as natural as breathing for me.

But having two guys with cameras follow me around as I walked in and out of the house, potted up a little plant, pick lettuce? Believe it or not, that’s not something I do every day. It was a wee bit uncomfortable.

But it wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized my unfortunate wardrobe choice.

Mom jeans. I was wearing mom jeans. Seriously? I had to wear mom jeans when people came over with cameras? What was I thinking? Ugh.

Watching the video now I also see how barren and new my first-week-in-June vegetable garden looks. The camera dudes were uninterested in my hosta garden.  The wisteria, peonies and roses had just finished their big display. But really, they were interested in the fruits and veggies.

And the eastern box turtle.

eastern box turtle

The eastern box turtle is the resident tomato muncher—and runaway star of the garden video.

Actually, the eastern box turtle stole the video. That’s the first thing everyone comments about. Even my brother’s first comment was, “Cool! You have a turtle?”

Well, no. The turtle actually has me. I am his personal gardener.

I’m pretty sure this is the same box turtle who has lived in the garden for about three years now. I often stumble across him as I’m digging and planting, watering or weeding. I know he’s the one who takes bites from low-hanging tomatoes because I caught him red-handed one day, front legs on a big red tomato and mouth open. I’m sure he’s the guy who nibbles at my strawberries too. That’s okay. I planted extra for him.

So, here’s the video. Watch for the shot of the turtle.

No comments on the mom jeans, please.



Posted In: Blogging, Gardening


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