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The Joy of Gardens...

It has been a great garden summer. I finally feel like our yard is shaping up to reflect the warm, inviting, but not overly manicured look I am working towards. I love the ease of perennials and hostas paired with the pop of color annuals add to pots and hanging baskets that our Iowa climate promotes. This year we finally got our veggie beds settled into a sunnier location that both I (from a garden design standpoint) and the plants (from a growing standpoint) like better, and in their place we purposed our swing set into a tent for hanging our hammocks.

We were also able to get a rain barrel set up, thanks to having new gutters put on our garage. I'm amazed at how little rain it takes to fill it up. And how quickly I can use most of a barrel thanks to daily watering of our pots and hanging baskets.

Our new trumpet vine, planted to provide some natural shade cover for the top of the hammock tent, has suddenly taken off here at the end of summer and I was so excited to give it some friends and get a new perennial bed started in the back corner of the yard, that has previously supported our healthiest weed crop, thanks to end of the summer greenhouse sales.

The girls and I have also been taking time to visit some larger gardens over the past couple of weeks. For over 18 years I have driven from Iowa to Nebraska (and back) to spend time with family and friends, and every time we  passed the signs for Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha I've made the mental note to plan a stop. This summer after visiting my mom for the weekend, Brea and I made a point to stop and explore the gardens. I can't believe we have waited this long to stop!

The gardens are much larger than I had expected and full of variety in terms of both planting and garden design. As much as I could never see myself having one, I always love the clean balanced design of a Victorian garden.

Brea and I's favorite spot was the model train garden. We could have spent so much time there watching all the trains and looking at all the little details that have been incorporated into the display. It's kinda magical. We can't wait to go back!

Our own local botanical center in Des Moines recently celebrated a big event as their corpse flower bloomed for the first time since it was added to the center's collection in 2013. Lexi and I spent her last day of freedom before her sophomore year school activities got underway (band camp has this way of very quickly drawing summer to an abrupt end at the start of August) checking out this botanical celebrity and walking the gardens.

While impressive, it was not the corpse flower that made our visit the most enjoyable. After a very dry summer, we walked the newer outdoor garden areas, including the beautiful water garden walk, in the most beautiful light rain. It was lovely, as was the day spent with my girl.

It always makes me sad to put our garden to bed for the winter. I can already see the signs of the end of the season as spend annuals and veggies start to die away. Before we know it we will be rolling up hoses, cleaning out pots, and raking leaves, after which I will start daydreaming about what additions and changes will be in store for the NEXT growing season...a mental activity that helps to get me through the cold, blah months of Iowa winter.

Maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to move this family unit to a more tropical, always green and growing location.

Probably not...but maaaaaaaybeeeeee.



My Most Read Thoughts


Today while I sat in a classroom supervising students as they worked on their math assignments, I watched Lexi through the window enjoying time with her friends during recess. My heart smiled.

Those moments, moments of learning and carefree fun, those are the moments that SHOULD make up a school day. As a Mom, and an elementary school employee, my heart is breaking over the news and images coming out of Connecticut today. 
I send my kids off to school everyday without a second thought that they will return safely come day's end, just as I'm sure each one of those parents in Newtown did this morning.
Every day I walk into my school for work without a second thought to my personal safety, just as I'm sure each of those teachers, paras, custodians, sectretaries, etc in Newtown did this morning. 
Theories will be published. Evidence will be presented. Words will be exchanged about gun control and the need for change in our current culture of violence. I don't suspec…

DIY: Reusable Produce Bags

With Earth Day festivities gearing up for tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to post a short DIY tutorial on making your own reusable cloth produce bags. (Tutorial inspired by my favorite crafty mom blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Produce bags inspired by running into my friend Laura at the grocery store while she was stuffing her produce into these.) This is my next step in the fight against the excessive use of plastic bags.

Our family has been making small environmentally minded changes in our daily lives over the past few years. We use reusable shopping bags. We've stopped buying/using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. I'm trying to commute around town via bike more. I'm being more mindful about where the food we buy comes from and how it was produced. We more often hang our laundry on the line to dry in the spring and summer instead of just throwing it in the dryer. (Which is convenient at the moment since our dryer has decided to quit drying.) As we use up chemically clean…

Sunday Morning Silly...

Once in a while Dando's curiosity urges him to venture off the bookshelf so he check out other toys in the house.

I think he thinks Froggy is missing a few marbles.