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A busy Monday

May 23, 2016
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We are getting down to the countdown for 2016 State MG conference2016 mg logo and we are in conference mode. Today emails went to people on special diets to tell them about their meal choices. We are finalizing signs and plant tags. I also got two columns written with more to go. On top of all of this, we are also finalizing plans for the Annual to Perennial event annuals to perennialsfor our first year Master Gardeners and their mentors. This is going to be a super event for any new Master Gardeners who trained from June 2015 through May 2016. They can bring a mentor if they have one, but mentors cannot come without their mentees. We hope to inspire first year members and we offering this event in four locations around the state to make it convenient to attend.

I also worked on lining up some tours for a group of Mississippi Master Gardeners who are coming through the first full week of June, and we are trying to finalize the statewide Saturday MG training schedule which will be held in Bryant.

During the lunch hour I ran out to meet with my new sprinkler man to look at a leak I have in my sprinkler. John Virden lives in my neighborhood and has been in the business for over 20 years. He dug up the leak, repaired it and now will be back tomorrow after the glue sets to test it. I need a sprinkler system since I will be out-of-town soon. sprinkler repair (1) After we get it up and running I want him to assess what else needs to be done.

Then this afternoon I went down to a good friends retirement reception. Judy Robison has a few more years on me–she has been working for 41 years! I am not sure what we will do without her grant expertise and her even keeled demeanor, but I wish her the best.judy robison retirement (3)judy robison retirement (2)

Then tonight we had dinner with Kyle and his girlfriend at Table 28. A great meal and great company. kyle birthday dinner (3)

kyle birthday dinner (5)

A full, but productive Monday!

A celebratory weekend in Dallas

May 22, 2016
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This has been a whirlwind weekend celebrating my niece’s wedding in Dallas. We ended up leaving LR later than expected due to a work schedule, so we had time to do the drive through at the Greek Food Festival for our lunch on Friday before we left town. They have this down to a science! greek food festival (2)

greek food festival (3)

greek food festival (5) We were on the road after eating and loading up our son and his stuff and had an easy drive to Dallas until we hit Dallas and traffic. My gps was a bit confused, but we made it to the hotel by 6 p.m. We met up with our cousins from Atlanta to walk to dinner downtown while the wedding party was rehearsing and doing their dinner. dinner may20 (1)

dinner may20 (2)

dinner may20 (5)

dinner may20 (6) We had a great meal and then walked around downtown to meet up with the wedding party at a local hot spot. downtown dallas may16 (6)

downtown dallas may16 (7) The wedding party arrived about 10:15 p.m. and we had a great time connecting, visiting and dancing. It was a late night to say the least.linda and I may20.16

Then we were up early and went to the bridesmaids brunch. Whitney’s room was grand central for beautification with all the bridesmaids and mom’s getting their hair and makeup done. bridesmaids brunch (1)

bridesmaids brunch (4)

bridesmaids brunch (5)

bridesmaids brunch (7)Friends brought in a lovely brunch and we visited and ate. bridesmaids brunch (2)

bridesmaids brunch (9)

bridesmaids brunch (10)

bridesmaids brunch (12) Katie and I decided there were enough people in the room, so we went exploring downtown Dallas for a bit. It was really hot and humid, but we saw some great gardens and did a little window shopping. coleus planting.may16

downtown dallas may16 (1)

downtown dallas may16 (4)

impatiens dallas (2)
We ate a late lunch with Clay and Kyle and then it was almost time to start getting ready. We got gussied up and left on a shuttle for the wedding. katie and i getting ready.may16lauren and kyle (2)
The wedding was beautiful and Whitney was a beautiful bride.whitney and chipwhitney and drewwhitney and drew kiss

whitneys wedding (2)

whitneys wedding (3) Afterwards it was picture time, which took a little time.

We rode the shuttle to the reception which was delightful. It was on the 48th floor of a downtown building and the view was amazing, but so was the food and band. It was a really fun evening.whitneys wedding (4)

whitneys wedding (6)

whitneys wedding (9)
After a great meal, there were some wonderful toasts,whitneys wedding (10)

whitneys wedding (11) then the first dance, whitneys wedding (14)then we all got to dance, and dance we did!

Then it was cake time. whitneys wedding (15)

whitneys wedding (18) It was fun visiting with family cousins may16

whitneys wedding (20)and of course watching a special couple tie the knot. Two late nights in a row!

This morning we visited with my sister and the maid of honor niece before loading up and heading home. It was a quick trip but such a great time and now we have a new member of the family.

Primping, packing and a little gardening

May 19, 2016
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We leave tomorrow for Dallas for my nieces wedding, so I took the day off to get my hair done, do laundry, pack, pick up last-minute things and get ready to leave town. In addition, I had to meet the plumber, since we found a leak last night in the hose for the ice maker, and the floor has been getting wet now for we think days and we didn’t know because we don’t often get behind the refrigerator. So I put things up and out-of-the-way so it can air out while we are gone–but everything is working. I got things ready for the housesitter so the dogs won’t be lonely. I didn’t stop all day, but I did finally walk the garden. I have not had much rain, even though many around us have. I looked at the forecast and it didn’t look like we had much of a chance while I am gone, so I decided to fertilize and water the garden well, so it would be fine until we return. Then tonight we got rain! Oh well, better safe than sorry.

The garden is looking good, but I have neglected it lately. I have a LOT of deadheading to do when I get home, and I found spider mites on the green beans and getting started on the eggplant. eggplant spider mites.may19 (1)

eggplant spider mites.may19 (2) I did not spray today, but I will when I get home. I did pick my first raspberries today and they were quite tasty–really some of the best I have tasted in an Arkansas garden. They are the Raspberry Shortcakeâ„¢ Dwarf Thornless Raspberry from BrazleBerry. I have quite a few more that will be ripening soon.raspberry first harvest.may19 (1)

raspberry first harvest.may19 (2)
The weather has definitely been kind to our gardens, and although I do think we will have more insects and diseases this year, we have also had way more flowers! My hydrangeas are all pink to purple this year,hydrangeas may19 (3)

hydrangeas may19 (2) but covered in blooms and the gardenia gardenia may19 (2)has never had as many buds. The single flower variety is always the first to bloom, but my doubles are loaded too. The Serissaserissa may16 is blooming and so are the hardy geraniums.hardy geranium may19 (1)

hardy geranium may19 (2) I got the first blooms on my coreopsis ‘Salsa’ and the echinacea and yellow butterfly weed are quite showy. butterfly weed yellow.may19 (1)

butterfly weed yellow.may19 (3)
I also have a mystery bulb that came in with my first load of super soil. It is about to bloom, so I can’t wait to see what it is. unknown bulb.may19.16
I continue to be impressed with the confederate jasmine–it has been blooming non-stop for weeks and it is still covered in flowers with more buds coming on. confederate jasmine.may19 (2)

confederate jasmine.may19 (3) The fragrance is intoxicating! Between that and the gardenias it is a fragrant garden.
Then tonight I met up with a lot of my friends at a wine tasting at Clark and Henrik’s. The food was amazing, and while they had the entire yard set up and decorated, everyone pretty much stayed inside because of a pop-up rain shower. wine tasting may16

wine tasting.may16

Now a good nights sleep!

Garden Envy!

May 18, 2016
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The morning flew by with catch-up at the office. At noon, I headed out to join the tour committee for the 2017 state MG conference to look at some outstanding gardens. There were only three gardens, but they were all huge and beautifully maintained, with great plant collections. One had a huge, attractive vegetable garden, while another had a large fairy garden, and the other was a plant collectors dream. They all had one other thing in common, is that they would not be an easy bus ride. So once we pick all the gardens, the bus company needs to go with the committee to decide on how to get there.
phelps garden.may1601010113

phelps garden.may1601010109 The first stop was a large country garden. Everywhere you looked there were more plants and a great array of color. phelps garden.may1601010126

phelps garden.may1601010128 There were large beds of perennials, shrubs and trees, with many conifers, but also loads of containers with a variety of plantings. annualsphelps garden.may1601010122

phelps garden.may1601010112

phelps garden.may1601010118
Then it was on to an almost 5 acre garden in the center of town with one of the most elaborate and groomed edible gardens you will ever see. From gooseberries and blackberries, to apples and lemons, vegetables and herbs of every type abound. gooseberries. trim garden may161303
veg garden trim garden may16167

veg garden trim garden may16168
veg garden trim garden may16161

veg garden trim garden may16162Whoever thinks a vegetable garden is not attractive,needs to see this one. But the garden is much more than vegetables, there are water features,trim garden may1608

trim garden may1624 outdoor rooms with plenty of seating trim garden may1609

trim garden may1625and gardens full of color. trim garden may1607

trim garden may1610
The last garden on the tour was a large backyard garden with some gorgeous rock work, elaborate pools and meandering paths. The plants complemented the setting, and the view was spectacular.coulson garden.may1603

coulson garden.may1607

coulson garden.may1612

coulson garden.may1621

coulson garden.may1622

coulson garden.may1625

Our timing was perfect. As we were ending, we got a little rain. We all had garden envy as we left these three gardens. Start planning ahead to May 2017. You won’t want to miss what they are planning.

Tonight we got to see our “nephew” (not actually by blood) who was home from his residency program in Jacksonville, Florida. He has two more years to go before he becomes an emergency medicine doctor, but it was a good visit.arthur party.may1601 May is a very busy month!

Eureka Springs, Berryville and home

May 17, 2016
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Have you ever driven a car through the streets of downtown Eureka Springs? Well, consider driving a bus. Today we had our hopefully, final meeting with the bus company to discuss all the ins and outs of where buses can go, turn around, and drive! It is a steep learning curve, but hopefully we have mastered it. We have 9 buses transporting MGs all around Carroll County in two weeks and we want to be prepared. It was a gloomy, cold and rainy morning, but cleared up as we got closer to home.

As we were leaving the Inn of the Ozarks we ran into our lead tour chairman for Eureka Springs, Ann. She was with June Westphal the renowned historian of Eureka Springs. June Westphal , Ann Craig and me (2) Ann was gleaning all the knowledge she could get from June for the garden tours. June Westphal was born three miles from Eureka Springs and has spent her life as a “crackerjack” researcher, writing numerous articles for the Carroll County Historical Society; radio vignettes; The Eureka Chronicles: Ten Decades of History, 1880s to 1980s; Centennial Postcard History (co-authored with Bob Rennels, 1979); and For All Saints: A History of Methodism in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. For more than thirty years, she has put together the Annual Historical Pictorial Calendars distributed by Cornerstone Bank (formerly the Bank of Eureka Springs). She raised her family in Eureka Springs and is still discovering previously unpublished nuggets of life in her peculiar hometown and has given Ann a lot to share with our Master Gardeners.

As we finished in Eureka Springs, we drove to Berryville to look at the outdoor classroom. It is one of the top-notch facilities in the state and we are so happy that we can share this with the MGs on the all day Berryville tour. berryville school garden (2)

berryville school garden (8)

berryville school garden (10)

berryville school garden (13)

berryville school garden (15)
From there it was homeward-bound to Little Rock. We went from gloom to sunlight, and milder temperatures. It has cooled off a bit now at home, but I hear things are heating up as the week progressed.

If you are registered for the 2016 MG conference, you are in for a treat. I head back up 2 weeks from today! If you are registered, you should have either receieved an email or a letter in the mail with your confirmation. If you haven’t received one and you think you are registered, let me know.

Volunteer Walk-through

May 16, 2016
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The 2016 State MG conference is getting closer and closer. Today Julie and I had an early morning drive to Eureka Springs for some early meetings on buses and facilities, before our walk-through began at 1 p.m. It was maybe too early, or I may have been a bit tired from the weekend, but I was talking (imagine that) and I missed my normal turnoff in Conway to head north on Hwy 65. Instead, we did the “shorter” but windier route through the Pig Trail–Julie’s first time on this road. It was a pretty drive with a lot of wildflowers in bloom, including coreopsis coreopsis.may16, spiderwort(Tradescantia), larkspur, Indian paintbrush and ox-eye daisies. Luckily there was no rain, so we made it up to Eureka in good time.

We had excellent participation from volunteers from 4 counties. We went over the schedule, introduced all the committee chairs, then walked through the facility so that all of the volunteers could be familiar with the layout. mg walk through carroll county (2)

mg walk through carroll county (4)

mg walk through carroll county (5)
Volunteers were able to register, get their volunteer shirts, and ask questions. mg walk through carroll county (1)

mg walk through carroll county (6)
It was a very productive day, but let’s talk about the weather! It was downright cold outside and some didn’t have a jacket, were actually wearing spring-like clothing and sandals. I was happy to have my raincoat and long sleeves. It is currently 54 degrees and overcast. We have had rain. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be 48 degrees with more rain. And this is mid-May! Hard to believe.

As we went out to dinner I was showing Julie one of our tour stops. Crossing the road in front of us was a large groundhog. We were not on a busy road so I stopped and I think he got confused because he came back out and let us get pretty close before scampering off into the woods. groundhog may (1)

groundhog may (3) Fun to observe wildlife from the drivers seat, but not as much fun if they are in your garden.

Tomorrow we have a few more meetings that may depend somewhat on the weather before heading back–the normal way–not the Pig Trail way.

Happy Birthday! Surprise!

May 15, 2016
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My first-born child was born 30 years ago today. When Kyle entered the world our life changed–for the better, and it has been a journey. kyle 2

kyle 5

kyle 6 months

kyle 7

kyle 10 I can’t believe I have a child that is 30 years old! That makes me seem older than I think I am! I decided we needed a surprise party since he works on Sunday and he has a new house, so today, we had a surprise. I cleaned up his house and got it ready and then he got off an hour earlier than planned since he was under the weather, and there weren’t a lot of us there to surprise him, but it all worked out in the end. kyle 30th birthdya.1602

kyle 30th birthdya.1613

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We had a good mix of our friends and his, and his are still to come, but it was a fun day! kyle 30th birthdya.1608

kyle 30th birthdya.1609

kyle 30th birthdya.1610

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kyle 30th birthdya.1616
The singing of Happy Birthday was pretty unique with a wide range of voices! kyle 30th birthdya.1621

kyle 30th birthdya.1622

kyle 30th birthdya.1623
Every day this week I have been getting things organized for the event, so now I can rest on my laurels. It was a success and we had a great time,and they are still going strong!
Happy Birthday Kyle! kyle 30th birthdya.1628

kyle 30th birthdya.1616

kyle 30th birthdya.1617

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