Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Have You Ever? (The Garden Version)

There's a game that most of us have played at some point or another in our lives, most probably our younger lives. It's called, "Have You Ever?" and it's a way to find out things about your friends that you might not have known before. If they tell the truth, that is.

For example, you might ask something like, "Have you ever smoked a cigarette in your high school during school hours?" or "Have you ever eaten a booger?" You know, stuff like that.

That could be a fun game to play in the garden, too. For your entertainment pleasure, file these questions away for your next get-together with your garden buddies.

Have You Ever...

  • ...nurtured a weed, thinking it was a flower?
  • ...grown a plant on the Invasive Species List?
  • ...planted a fragrant plant in your garden for the sole purpose of rubbing your hands on it and smelling them once in a while?
Helichrysum italicum is commonly known as curry plant, although it's
not edible. It just smells like curry powder. I plant this one just to rub its leaves.

  • ...used your bypass pruners to dig a hole?
  • ...planted a full sun plant where it got shade for most of the day, thinking a couple of hours of direct sun would be enough, only to find out it wasn't?
  • ...planted a tree too close to your house?
  • ...killed a plant that everyone else you know can grow without even trying? Multiple times?

Johnny jump-ups hate me.

  • ...moved the same plant more than twice?
  • ...temporarily hidden plant purchases behind or under shrubs so your significant other wouldn't notice that you'd bought more plants?
  • ...bought way more seeds than you could ever plant in a lifetime?
  • ...helped yourself to seed pods from the hotel's landscaping while on vacation?
  • ...felt guilty for thinning seedlings and sorry for the ones you pulled out?

You get the idea. We all break the rules now and then, because gardening rules beg to be broken, even if we don't break them on purpose.

By the way, yes, "I have ever" done ALL of the above. I'll bet you could add a few questions of your own for this game. C'mon... fess up in the comments! 🙃

Sunday, May 28, 2017

WEEKEND WISDOM: A "Tendon"cy for Uniqueness

A few years ago, I decided to do a fun bloggy thing in that I would share quirky and interesting information I came across while looking for other things. It may or may not have anything to do with gardening. I called this feature "Weekend Wisdom." I got distracted (a normal occurrence in my life) and I didn't do this on a very regular basis. Now it's the weekend and I just found something I want to tell you about.

Photo credit: Unknown
The human body is an amazing thing and I'm always thrilled to learn new and wonderful things about it that I didn't know before. The untapped potential alone for new and wonderful things is enough to make my mind explode. Here's the latest...

It seems that there is yet another thing that some of us have and some of us don't. There are supertasters - those people who have taste receptors that other people are missing. There are supersniffers too. (Lucky me, I'm both.) And now, it seems that some of us are missing some other body parts.

In your forearm, there is (or isn't) a particular muscle/tendon - the Palmarus longus. You can see if you have it or don't have it by touching you thumb to your pinky finger and then flexing your wrist. If you see a cord of tissue sticking up, that's your Palmarus longus. If the inside of your forearm remains pretty smooth and flat, you're in the approximately 15% of the population that doesn't have it.

I've got it...

My husband does not.

I wonder if either of our two girls are missing theirs. It can be missing on one arm and present on the other, and its general shape can vary as well.

The cool thing about this muscle, which is largely considered to be vestigial, is that it can be used to replace tendons in other parts of the body.

My husband now thinks he's more highly evolved than I am.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Trip to Mexico, A New Book, and This Blog

Goodness, look at the time! The last time I posted to my poor, neglected blog was at the end of January, when I was trying to grow an avocado plant from the pit inside one I'd received in a Blue Apron shipment. So much has happened since that time - unfortunately, that doesn't include a new avocado plant - that I don't know if I'll ever get caught up writing about it all, but you've got to start somewhere, right?


I wrote my latest book during the fall and early winter, and that involved some pretty intense writing time. Here's how I did it...

I literally holed up in a bedroom and did nothing but write, research, and write and research, for four straight weeks. The bulk of my book got written in that time, with many other small writing sessions and lots of editing in the weeks that followed that writing marathon.

For some odd reason, I tend to write better and am more prolific when I'm under pressure and there's nothing like a looming deadline to provide that. With a project as large as writing an entire book all by yourself (my first one - Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants - was with co-author and friend, Jenny Peterson), concentration and staying on task is paramount and there's no one more easily distracted than I am. Thus, pretty much shutting myself off from the outside world was the only way I was going to accomplish everything I needed to do to get that book out the door.

My bed was my desk for weeks.

After I got home from the GWA (Garden Writers Association) Annual Symposium in Atlanta last September, I looked at Romie as I headed into the bedroom which became my office, and said, "See you in three weeks," and went to work. That three weeks became four.

Jenny and Brett Davis
November 5, 2016
During that time, I got bronchitis and sure didn't feel like writing, but the book didn't care. So I slept and wrote and slept and wrote, and took my antibiotics. I got well enough to travel to Texas to see Jenny get married and visit a couple of other friends, Diana Kirby and Pam Penick, only to return home and contract pneumonia. Romie joined me in that fun. Not the trip to Texas. The pneumonia.

Then it was Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then book editing with both St. Lynn's Press editor, Cathy Dees, and Art Director, Holly Rosborough. Just when that was almost finished, Romie and I went off to Mexico, chasing monarchs, but not before I had another bout with bronchitis. I have to think stress had something to do with my less-than-stellar immune system, which has never been all that fantastic since I had bacterial meningitis in 1999.

Overwintering monarch butterflies cluster on the oyamel fir trees at
El Rosario sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico.

By the time we got back from Mexico in early March, last minute book editing was the order of the day and then the book was finally off to the printer, in time for its release date of April 12th. The book has enjoyed the position of #1 Hot New Release on Amazon, off and on, ever since its release was first announced back in August, but nearly always has held that spot in the month prior to April 12th and in the month since. It has also received 21 5-star reviews so far on Amazon, and some very positive reviews on blogs. I'm grateful.

So, with my next post, which WILL be within the next week, I'll just dig right in and start telling you about the events I've attended, the gardens I've visited, the new (to me) garden products I've tested, and of course, that fabulous trip to Mexico. I promise.

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