Garden Blogs I Dig
Although I try my best to live in the moment, I feel as though I have one foot planted in 2011 and the other stretched into 2012. 2011 was a great year: in fact my husband has gone so far to say it was his best year to date, and I cannot disagree. When I think back the most vivid memories are all the family moments we spent together watching our son develop as an ever-curious toddler. Any parent knows the amazing transformation that occurs in a child in a year's time. I also think of the times spent in the garden under the warm sun, spending time with friends, and some much needed quality time with the hubby.
So, to go along with everyone else out there I have a list of 5 top memories of 2011.
5. Girl's weekend in Colorado.
I spent a whirlwind of a weekend in Colorado with my girlfriends to celebrate our friend's marriage. We were lucky enough to all stay in the same condo, so the weekend was filled with laughs, tears and lots of cheers!
4. Purchasing a share in a community supported agriculture farm.
Due to our limited space (that's the excuse I'm using), we just don't have the ability to grow a ton of produce, so this past year we purchased a half-share of a community supported farm, Nature's Road Farm. It was AWESOME. Each week we had a generous bag of fresh, local, and mostly organic produce delivered to our door step. I will definitely do it again. Man! This picture is making me jones for some fresh produce right about now...been slim pickings lately.
3. Crazy weather.
2011 brought some wacky wacky weather: 90 degrees in April, major hail storm in June, early frost and snow and we're finishing the year off with temps in the 50's.
A major hail storm in June caused severe damage to hostas and other plants in my shady border.
Huge limbs from a weak-wooded silver maple cracked and fell under the weight of an early snow in November.
2. Romantic Chicago Getaway.
Drew and I scampered off for a quick getaway to Chicago this fall. One of our favorite bands, Widespread Panic played a Halloween show at the Aragon Ballroom. This particular show marked the 15th anniversary of my very first show, ironically enough on Halloween at the Aragon Ballroom in 1996! We went for the concert, but were blown away by the liveliness and beauty of the city. We stayed downtown for the most part, and we were just a brisk walk or a quick cab to anywhere, it seemed. Shopping, food and sights - it was the perfect fall romantic retreat.
1. Summer. Period.
As much as I love living in an area where I can enjoy all four season (to the fullest extent), nothing beats summer in my book: c'mon I'm a gardener true and true. I LOVE long days, warm sun, running through the sprinkler, blooming flowers, picking tomotoes and drinking beer on the patio in bare feet. Enjoying all this with my family and friends is all I can ask for (and dream of during winter).
There you have it - some of my most memorable memories of 2011. Can't wait to keep 'em coming in 2012.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
With temperatures reaching 70 degrees the last three days in Des Moines, it's hard to believe Christmas jingles will soon be ringing in our ears. The holidays always seem to sneak up on me, but I'm trying extra hard to be organized this year. On the top of my list is ordering our annual holiday greeting cards from Shutterly.
If you are unfamiliar with Shutterfly, I strongly suggest you take a peek at their website. I've been an avid user and fan of Shutterfly for years now. Before this whole social networking boom (you know, back when we simply emailed), my group of girlfriends and I used Shutterfly to stay connected by photo sharing. It's a fantastic way to keep your digital media organized. So long are the days of unwanted pictures stuffed in drawers, taking up precious space. With Shutterfly you can save all the pictures you want and order only the ones you want, so simple and easy - LOVE IT!
They have such a vast array of holiday cards to chose from. Bright and cheery, sleek and modern, traditional and religous - whatever your taste may be they have a card for you. With that being said, I will have a hard time topping last year's card. We hired a cartoonist to recreate our family into animated versions of ourselves. I used Shutterfly's simple process to place the image on holiday cards. The finished product was brilliant and colorful - plus, it was a cinch!
This year we are just going to put our son's cute mug on a card and call it good. I've been browsing through all the options, and am having a hard time deciding. I think I've narrowed it down to three; my husband can make the final call.
I've noticed that you can also order cards to support a charity - how thoughtful. Plus they are offering 20% off their address labels, they add a personal touch...I might have to splurge on those this year. Also, the photo books make excellent gifts!
Okay, enough promotion for Shutterfly, time to get back putting the garden to bed for the winter.
Sometimes I page through shiny magazines with amazing, glossy photos of meticulously manicured gardens and I think “one day, when I’m retired, my garden will look like that.” At that point, I’m interrupted by a babbling toddler, an over-boiling pot, a husband calling about dinner plans – or very easily, all of the above. Abruptly, I’m back in the hectic world of a garden-loving, full-time working mom.
Deep down, I know my garden will never resemble those highlighted in fancy gardening mags. This is why I’ve adopted the philosophy of casual gardening. Perfect, pristine gardens are beautiful, but they just don’t fit in with my reality. While I sit in front of a computer 36 hours a week, the weeds in my garden are plotting their malicious conquest. While I chase after my rambunctious son, the once-glorious peony blooms, now brown and waterlogged, beg me to put them out of their misery. Eventually the weeds are pulled and the peonies are deadheaded, but there’s always some other chore lurking in the shadows ready to pounce.
I admire those spectacular magazine gardens, but I also appreciate my imperfect garden. My husband and I have put in too many hours of work not to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And really, when it comes down to it, the common denominator of gardeners are the plants. No matter what level of gardener you may be or what style of garden you tend, the plants bring us together.
The thrill of planting something new, the anticipation of the first ripe tomato and the trial-and-error of the whole process keeps me growing. And my favorite part of all may be sipping a glass of wine while meandering through my casual garden, admiring the beauty…..and overlooking the weeds.