I recall years ago hearing Stephen Covey for the first time.

He had just come out with his hit book First Things First and was doing the corporate circuit, where I was invited to hear him at one of my big-name corporate client’s offices. I remember so vividly his big line “You can’t rush on a farm!” His point being that some things just have to be planned for and take time. It’s true. It’s not often in the gardening and farming world that you can rush or get instant gratification. But when it comes to container plants and window boxes, you can really cheat!

I ordered a sky pencil holly from Wayside Gardens a few weeks ago expecting to get the instant gratification I longed for in recreating a potted arrangement I recently saw on my travels. What I received were two little, itty, bitty, tiny plants that would not do the trick.

I mean, really. The photo in the catalog showed the tree at 8′ tall! What I received wasn’t even 8 INCHES tall.

Happily, I spied one hiding in the back of a bunch of shrubs at my local garden center. I sent Ben, my son/yard boy back to fetch it. I was able to drag it home and THAT VERY DAY start the arrangement I longed for.


To illustrate the point, here are the two sky pencil hollies. The one on the left is the sad little specimen that I ordered and will have to wait YEARS to reach a respectable size. The one on the right is the example I fetched home from the garden center.

By the way, these really are supposed to reach 8 FEET tall. I have no idea where they will eventually go, but I figure I have time to plan for that.

In other news…

–I clean out the bluebird houses tomorrow. After waiting for two weeks, we have concluded that the five eggs are no longer viable and have been abandoned. I feel very sad. I also am embarrassed that my first official report to Cornell will be of a failure. –Squirrels have discovered my bird feeders. I bring them in at night, but the fuzzy fellow have the temerity to belly up to the birdfeeder buffet during the daytime. Sarah (dog) and Miss P (cat) are on the job of providing a dis-incentive for that undesirable behavior. –My orchids are doing beautifully. Fingers are crossed. –Spinach has pretty much played out. Lettuce is still going gangbusters, so Harry has something to eat. –We desperately need rain.

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