Thursday, May 31, 2007

First Rose of Summer

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie

All of the roses are going to be in bloom shortly, but 'Chihuly'® is the first of those that were acquired prior to this year. I got this floribunda last year at The Greenhouse Effect, along with 'Hot Cocoa.' It's quite unusual and striking, because no two blooms are alike and each bloom changes in appearance from the stage of bloom you see here until it starts to drop petals. Some of them are painted, as is this one, and some are not. It owes that trait to one of its parents, 'Scentimental.' It is a Weeks rose, introduced by Carruth in 2004.

Dale Chihuly is an American glass artist. The first Chihuly work I'd ever seen was the glass ceiling in Bellagio's in Las Vegas. Stunning when you first see it, and you'll have a crook in your neck by the time you tire of looking at it, if you even do.

Then Mom and I went to see his exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, in 2004. Various glass creations were interspersed among the flora there and I became an official fan. Nearly the entire exhibit was acquired as a permanent exhibit and includes more than 3000 pieces of glass.

The next place I saw a Chihuly was when Romie and I visited the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2005. Chihuly presented the Clintons with an 11-foot, 1000 pound glass tree, worth $22,000.
Usually his glass works are brilliantly colorful, but this one is white. If you're familiar with Chihuly's work at all, you'll recognize it as such.

Presently, there are three exhibitions in the United States, including one at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It runs from May 10 - November 11, 2007 and I hope to get there before it closes. I've not visited Phipps, so Chihuly or not, I'd like to see it.

So which came first - my love of Chihuly glass or the Chihuly rose? It was the glass, but when I saw the rose in bloom and discovered its name, I knew I had to have it. It has never disappointed me with any of its blooms and it truly is aptly named. Its brilliant - sometimes shocking - color variations are reminiscent of Chihuly's glass works.

2006 'Chihuly'®

You Just Never Know Who'll Read Your Blog

Last week, I received an e-mail from Diane Mapes, a journalist with, requesting an interview for a piece she was doing on tanning. She'd run across my blog, specifically my post from May 3rd entitled "Protect Yourself." I e-mailed her back, after checking her credentials (you just never know), and within an hour, we were speaking to one another on the phone.

Once again, I'm amazed at the power of the internet to bring people together in so many different ways for so many different reasons. Over the years, I've met some of the most interesting and wonderful people that I otherwise would not have met. This includes fellow gardening bloggers, of course, but also people like my friend Kat.

Probably those that I've met through geocaching are evidence of the largest network of friends and acquaintances that the internet has made possible for Romie and me. We've attended caching events and stayed with fellow cachers in their homes, as well as being the hosts ourselves, over the last three years and we not only share this hobby with them, but like our friends here at home, we enjoy just spending time with them. Were it not for our computer and the internet, we would have missed out on knowing some awfully nice people.

The internet gets bad press from time to time, and occasionally it's deserved. But used appropriately, it opens up the world in a brand new wonderful way. I remember when we first got online, my mom said to me, "Do you really need that?" At that time, we had dial-up and had a second phone line put in that was dedicated to the internet so that our regular phone line wasn't tied up by our internet use (which was a LOT of the time). The cost per month was something like $40, which included the second phone line. Now we have high-speed wireless and no telephone lines at all.

I imagine this kind of reaction was similar to when the telephone first became available for widespread use. People had gotten along without it for years, so was it really a necessity or was it a luxuriant convenience? While I don't think my computer and being online are necessities, I consider the use of it akin to using the telephone and having a television. I can use my connection to conduct business as well as for pure entertainment, and its research capabilities are invaluable.

I've always described the internet as being a book that never ends. Probably more like a magazine, with its infinite and varied subject matter. Because of this, I can sit down at the computer and be astounded later when I look at the clock and see that several hours have gone by. It's those darn links that are the culprits! One thing just leads to another - how else could you start out reading about how to prune an apple tree and end up finding out that in 2006, your first name was the 146th most popular baby name?

Like this:

Start with the first website and you'll find yourself at the last one by clicking on links posted on each of the listed sites. And I'm easily distracted, too, so going off on tangents while online is a way of life for me. You learn the most interesting things that way though.

And now I've gone off on a tangent in this post, so back to what I wanted to say in the first place: The tanning article has been published! And while Diane didn't promise that she'd use anything from our interview, she gave me both the lead-in quote as well as the wrap-up one at the end.

There's my fifteen minutes of fame.

And here's me in 1974, after tanning by the pool at Disney World. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


After a very busy weekend spent in the garden and relaxing with family, and my internet being down most of today, I've gotten the Greater Cleveland Nursery Tour posts and pictures published.

Start your tour here!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Baby Bugs

Back in March, I mentioned the praying mantis egg sacs that we had on our bushes and trees. One of those was in the weeping willow tree in the back garden. Yesterday, as I was pruning the tree, I felt a tickle on my left arm. I looked down, to see a teeny tiny praying mantis! Measuring no more than 3/8 of an inch long, I knew it hadn't been hatched for long. Several minutes later, I came across the egg sac, and there were still praying mantids emerging...

I noticed a couple of them on my miniature roses nearby a little while later. I was thrilled to see this, because earlier in the week, I found aphids munching away on the new flower buds. I used Safer's Soap on them and I've not seen any since, but I'll just let these natural predators take care of things now. Aphids are one of praying mantis nymphs' favorite meals.

Join Green Thumb Sunday

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Greater Cleveland Nursery Tour

When Mom and I attended the Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show in 2005, we were impressed with the quality of the plants that the vendors presented for purchase there, and wanted to visit those garden centers to see what else they had to offer. But we hadn't allowed enough time for that, and returned home knowing we'd missed out on some great plants.

This year, we made plans to stay overnight and spend the second day in Cleveland, nursery hopping. Ohhhhhhhh...what a great idea that was! Prior to our trip, we knew we wanted to go to
Lowe's Greenhouse since we'd gotten such nice things from them two years earlier, then I consulted with Cleveland resident Kim (blackswamp_girl) as to any other nurseries that we shouldn't miss. She suggested Eagle Creek and Petitti's.

I use Google Earth for planning such trips and if you've never used it, you're in for a treat. You can actually see a satellite photo of the area you're searching. Not only that, you can do a search for any type business and it will bring up all those businesses in or near the location you submit, and it will show the location on the photo and give a link to their website. I found that both Eagle Creek and Lowe's were on Chillicothe Road and there was a garden center called Breezewood in between the two. All three were within four miles of each other!

So after a breakfast at Hampton Inn in Solon (which had one of the cleanest hotel rooms I've ever been in - it even smelled clean), Mom and I began our nursery tour with Eagle Creek Growers.

Eagle Creek Growers - 18548 Chillicothe Rd., Bainbridge, OH

Just driving up to their location told us this was no ordinary garden center. It looked like a resort.

They had a huge assortment of all things gardening.

We'd never been in any kind of garden center such as this and we were duly impressed.
We spent about two hours there, perusing the plant offerings as well as the decorator items they had in abundance.

'Rooms' were set up and there were items for both inside the home and outside in the garden.

I have a weakness for bright blue pots and Eagle Creek had LOTS of them. I bought a small one. Yes, only one.

They had a lovely assortment of Jackson & Perkins roses, including nearly every one I'd ever had on my want list. I got to see 'Disneyland' in full bloom, which will soon be in bloom for the first time at my house as well.

Mom especially loved this one. I think it was 'Double Delight' but I'm not sure.

They also have a farm market inside, with wonderful edible offerings of all kinds.

We both purchased some nice things here, but we knew we had to pace ourselves or we'd be making another stop - at the bank - before the day was out. (Oh, who are we kidding. *cough*MasterCard*cough*)

Next stop: Breezewood Garden Center...

Breezewood Garden Center

Breezewood Garden Center - 17600 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls, OH

A couple of miles north took us to Breezewood Garden Center.
The facade looked quite rustic and when we entered, the store had a cozy boutique feel to it.

It was smaller than Eagle Creek, but they had a nice variety of items, including clothing, jewelry, and charming garden decor items in this section of the store.

This led into the greenhouses and outdoor plant displays. The plants were lovely and healthy here, just as they'd been at Eagle Creek.

I found some that I'd been searching for, but not the elusive 'Pink Octopus' Campanula that is my personal Plant of the Year for 2007. Last year, as Mom and I visited the various flower shows and nurseries, I was on a quest for 'Blue Mouse Ears' Hosta. I never did find it, so I ended up purchasing it online along with a few other minis. I talked with the person who does the ordering for Breezewood and though she had ordered 'Pink Octopus', it was never shipped, so the quest continues.

While we were inside Breezewood, it rained. We hoped we had gotten some of it earlier back home, but we found out later we did not. We're not in an official state of drought yet, but if we don't get rain soon, we will be.

Next stop: Lowe's Greenhouse...

Lowe's Greenhouse

Lowe's Greenhouse - 16540 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls, OH

Next up was Lowe's Greenhouse, which was the impetus for our current nursery tour. It was more like the traditional garden center we were used to, but larger. It seemed to be a little more personal than the nurseries we'd just been to, and we spent a couple of hours there.

Again, lovely plants and some that we'd not seen in the other places, which is one reason we enjoy nursery hopping so much. Each place has something a little bit different than the others.

We had a nice conversation with Mary Lynn, and she was quite helpful with answering our questions.

I spied some blue pots, but was able to resist buying one. I've always told my girls, "You can never have too many white shirts," and I think now I'll have to add, "You can never have too many blue pots." I just love them.

While this wasn't the largest greenhouse we'd visited so far, it seemed like they had a more varied selection of plants that we'd not encountered in our previous gardening ventures. It was here that I made the most purchases, which included a Lewisia, a German Bearded Iris, a Wisteria that will actually bloom because it already has flower buds on it, a variegated Abutilon, an Aruncus, and a vining Jasmine.

Last stop on the tour: Petitti Garden Center...

Petitti Garden Center, Then Home!

Petitti Garden Center -
33777 Chester Rd., Avon, OH

It was now about 4:30 in the afternoon, and we still needed to go north to Avon, which is on the south shore of Lake Erie. Pettiti's has several locations in the Cleveland area, but the one in Avon is the newest, having just opened in March of this year.

We first got a glimpse of it as we traveled west on Interstate 90 and we nearly drove off the road from the gawking. We had to go past it and north a bit, then back east on a smaller road. We passed a Walmart that was much larger than ours and looked like it had a generous garden center, so even though we'd been rubbing elbows with a much higher class of greenery, you just never know, so we stopped there for a bit. I did come out with a small Nishiki willow, which I returned to our local Walmart once we got home. (There was a good reason for that.)

Petitti's was open until 8:00 p.m. and it was after 6:00 when we got there. Plenty of time to look around, right? HA! We were so naive about this place, but that changed when we walked in the front door. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Or as the gentleman behind us said, "Good God Almighty..."

You know, I don't know if I can adequately put into words a description of this mega-nursery. It's the Cabela's of gardening. You name it; they've got it, and more. Oodles more. I wanted to promptly rent a U-Haul and load it up. And that greenhouse! The ceiling is 40 feet tall.

There was a large assortment of fountains and statuary.

All their trees and bushes were 50% off, which wasn't a huge temptation for me until I came to the Japanese Maples.

Gorgeous large specimen trees, including 'Autumn Moon' and another green one that I would have purchased, even though I'd already spent too much money. Problem was, we had no room in the van for it.

If you are ever in the Cleveland area or even remotely close, you have to visit Petitti's. In fact, find a reason to be near them. It is unlike anything we'd ever seen and though they didn't have the 'Pink Octopus' Campanula either, I think they had everything else.

We didn't find most of their plant prices to be any higher than anywhere else, nor those of the pottery, of which they had a huge selection. It's just that they have such a large and beautiful selection of all things gardening, you'll find things that you didn't know you needed until you got here.

This is just the Heuchera section:

Only the ones in the blue pots are $19.99. They are the 'New in Blue', which are the new introductions.

I'm not sure where you might use this big pot, but it was cool. A woman said to my mom, as she stood for this picture, "Either that pot is really big, or you're really short." A little of both, I think!

Just in case you're interested in purchasing the urn - $3999.99 and it's yours. Plus delivery.

They even had a pet shop within their store. I didn't notice any pets for sale, but they had everything you might need for them!

There was a Smith & Hawken section. Lowe's had a smaller one of those, too.

Just for this weekend, the Scott's Miracle Gro NASCAR Busch Racing Series Car #60 was on display in the greenhouse.

Other displays...

We left for home at about 8:30 and we talked about what a wonderful trip we'd had. I don't think there's anyone else in the world that I'd rather travel with on a trip like this than my mom. She's always up for any kind of adventure and though she's 72 years old, she has more energy than I do (she always has). Some of my best memories of times with my mom are these gardening jaunts that we take every now and again.

We were almost home, going around Defiance and chatting away when I noticed flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I looked down at my speedometer and it read 56 mph. I said to Mom,"I don't know if he's trying to pull me over, or if he's headed somewhere else, because I'm not speeding." But he didn't go around, so I slowed and pulled to the side of the road. Yes, he wanted me. Gulp.

Apparently, we were in a construction zone and the speed limit was 45 mph. We'd both missed the sign that was posted several miles back and because of the holiday weekend, no one was working and it was dark, so we didn't notice the construction to the west of the highway. He generously let me go with only a warning and I was grateful. With construction zone fines being double, that would have likely cost me more than I'd spent the entire weekend. Whew!

We got back to my house around midnight, where Mom discovered that Romie had locked her keys in her car. She'd put them on the floor and he'd not found them, assumed she'd taken them with her, and locked up her car. She took our van home and would drive back out in the morning with the spare set of keys.

So while exhausted from all the running around and the adrenaline rush from seeing all the wonderful nurseries and the flower show, this was one of the most enjoyable gardening trips Mom and I have taken yet.

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