They say that God makes rainy days to give gardeners a chance to clean their house, so I did do some cleaning and organizing, but I also ran a lot of errands today. The rain came and went off and on all day with a total so far of almost 1 1/2 inches. There were times (and I was out driving in it) when it literally poured buckets. People were pulling off onto the side of the road, which I also don’t think is that safe. Other times–like now, the sun is shining. It was one of those sun-shining moments when I left to go to Plantopia–Chris Olsen’s new nursery in NLR. He has really transformed the old Lakewood Gardens and he had a lot of plants–tropicals, houseplants and even annuals. Several of the torenia I bought were really overgrown, but I need overgrown since I am starting a tad late.
I also got some great bargains, since there was a sale. The hanging baskets of dragonwing begonias were large and nicely priced. You can see from the skies that the sunshine was fading fast. By the time I hit the interstate it was thundering,lightening and pouring rain. I had a couple more errands and got the car unloaded without getting too soaked. Hopefully I can plant later tomorrow or Sunday. I got my new mini SD card for the Go Pro, so maybe I can video my planting! I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to plant. I am sure Clay was elated to see new plants since I am leaving town again next week!!
I am excited! I have a three day weekend and I have NO scheduled activities–so it is a chance to get some things done at home. I am so behind in the yard, and I have been having a tough time finding any seasonal color to put in. If you drive up, the color you see is from dianthus, a few violas and snapdragons–and it is JULY 2!!
I have been to various nurseries here and out in the state, and I am not finding the plants I want. I thought for sure Good Earth would have them, but their annual color is on its way out, but they do have plenty of shrubs, perennials and the like. I did buy a tapioca plant, a mandevilla and a new annual which I will share later, after I use it as a mystery plant. I got to visit a bit with my good friend (and past assistant) Jennifer. I also bought some cool orange reading glasses! They have the best readers in town!
Note to self–regardless of how busy you are, or how cool the spring, stock up on summer annuals before July!
My garden is relying on perennials and shrubs for summer color, so I am going to have to get creative. My panicle hydrangeas are just beginning to bloom and the abelia blooms non-stop. I also have blooms on roses, erythrina and butterfly weed–both tropical and perennial. The hardy hibiscus are blooming and my cape fuchsia is on year three with showy flowers, albeit small. I also do know that green and shades within are colors so I do love the hostas and heucheras
I also picked up an extra battery and charger for my camera and made a new camera purchase. I am now the proud owner of a Go Pro–thanks to county agent Amy, who said I needed one. What exactly I am going to do with it, I am not sure, but it is charging. As I am reading the instructions, I find that I didn’t get a micro SD card–and it doesn’t come with one, so I can’t start using it until I go back and buy one. I wish they had told me to get one! I also bought a body harness. This is one of those cameras that skydivers and skiers use to take pictures with while they are active. Mine won’t be quite as exciting, but I hope to do some how-to videos on gardening, if I figure it out. Stay tuned!!
I did have a whole day in the office, but unfortunately had an all afternoon meeting on money management that cut into my work load, but I still got a lot accomplished. Julie and I leave again for a week next Tuesday going to Austin for a youth gardening and Junior Master Gardener conference, so we are trying to tie up loose ends for Saturday MG conference, the Heirloom Plants workshop at Garvan Gardens on July 13, County 76 events, and Advanced MG training on bees on July 15. So much to do. I also have columns to write, so time is of the essence.
I forgot to identify the mystery seeds and load this weeks challenge, so here goes:
Mystery seed 1 – is the seed pod from moon flower Datura . These spiny seed pods open and drop seeds, which can reseed themselves.
Seed 3 – is a classic milkweed seed pod. This one is from my butterfly weed and if you want your plant to be more free-flowering, then you should dead-head (cut off the spent blooms to prevent seed set).
Seed 4 – is the seed pod from a sweet bay magnolia. The plants at the Hope Research Station were loaded, which meant they bloomed beautifully. As they mature, they will turn an interesting pinkish red.
This morning we had a meeting with our host facility in Eureka Springs for the 2016 State MG Conference, trying to nail down the costs of food and facilities. The hotel was bombarded the last day of this year’s MG conference with people making hotel reservations, before we even announced the rate–the hotel is full and we will soon post alternative hotels, once we get things finalized a bit.
After our meeting, we drove home. Tonight was the final service at our favorite restaurant Acadia. We have been going there for regular dinners, but special occasions including New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s day for over ten years. We have made many memories with friends here over the years.
It was even more bittersweet, since our son has been the sous chef and has loved this job. His experience with owner and head chef James will serve him well wherever he goes. It was a limited menu tonight, but outstanding as always.
Today was a full day looking at optional venues for events and tours in Carroll County for next years state MG conference. We started off at Little Portion Monastary which was one of the sites of the first years MG conference post tour. They have changed a lot since those early days and in 2008 they had to almost start over after a devastating fire. We had the grand tour with Brother Mark and their gardens are amazing. They no longer grow commercial vegetables, but they have lovely native plant gardens surrounding the property. From there it was a short drive to Holiday Island. I have seen the signs for years, but have never ventured into this community. Lovely homes and vistas and an historic suspension bridge known as the golden gate of the Ozarks.
Then we drove into Eureka Springs where we looked at the Crescent Hotel and St. Elizabeth’s church garden.
Our last stop was Blue Springs the old site of the Eureka Springs Botanical Garden, again our first tour ever for a state MG conference. It has great potential and we are looking at options for 2016. Along the way, I also did some plant quizzing!
We saw some interesting insects today from the catalpa worm–and it’s damage what I think is a tussock moth caterpillar and one of the friendliest baby rabbits, until Julie scared him off! All in all a full, but productive day. Tonight Julie and I had an excellent dinner at Fresh, Farm to Table.
I haven’t had time to share with you the garden tour I took on Friday morning. We boarded a bus and headed to Beldenville, Wisconsin to tour folk artist Wouterina de Raad’s Mosaic Sculpture Garden. This three acre garden full of perennials also is the perfect showcase for her original garden art of mosaics and concrete sculptures. To say they are unique is putting it mildly. Many of the art pieces are as functional as they are beautiful, such as the mermaid benches and people who not only hold up the clothesline, but also serve as a bird house. She has seating all over the garden which she has made.
Today has been a busy day of household chores, laundry, etc. When you only have a day to catch up, you have to make it count. Tomorrow Julie and I head to Eureka Springs to meet with the 2016 host committee chair to continue with planning.
Thankfully, Julie and I made it back safely today by 11 a.m. and our luggage was waiting for us in LR. That was a blessing. The flight and all the delays, could have been avoided if American Airlines had their act together. I think all travelers understand weather and delays, and big storms hit Dallas early last evening. Many flights got cancelled, and thankfully, ours was not one of them until 2 a.m. when it was too late to do anything about it. But the problem could have been avoided, at least for some of us. When flights started getting cancelled, many were directed to one or two gates for re-ticketing. We had two people in front of our gate who were assisting, and then all of a sudden they disappeared, with hundreds in line waiting. There were active adults, people in wheelchairs, babies in strollers, families and all types of individuals, standing in a line with NO ONE assisting, because their shift had ended, regardless of what was needed. Notice what it says on the screen–“working together to be the greatest!” They were not working together or with us–their time was up and they took off, not caring who was waiting in line or why.
So hundreds could not get re-ticketed, but even more troubling, is the planes that were on the runway could not get unloaded, because there were no gatekeepers, no one to de-board or board planes. We had flight crews showing up for flights, but they couldn’t get on, because the others couldn’t get off, because there were no workers! The pilots and flight attendants were calling for help over the loudspeakers and via phone calls, but no one came. Finally, a young woman, obviously called in from time off based on her green sundress and sandals came in and tried to help. A flight to Mississippi, Lexington, KY and one to Cinncinnati finally made it out, but gate changes were constant–we changed gates 6 times before we were eventually cancelled and the Cinncinnati group boarded, then de-boarded and changed gates before leaving.
Our crew to Little Rock, had they been allowed to de-board and re-board, would have been great, but by the time some workers began showing up, it was way after 1 a.m. and some of the flight crew had “timed out” worked past the legal limit to fly. They tried calling in someone to replace him, but they never showed. Had we had regular workers, we would have come and gone hours before. The flight crews were just as upset and frustrated as we were.
Tempers began to flare as hundreds got no support. That doesn’t make anything easier. By 11 p.m. someone brought out some blankets and cots, but our crew thought we were still making it home so we didn’t take advantage of them. When our flight finally got cancelled, it was 2 am and all the neighboring hotels were booked, and we had a return flight that I paid for heading out at 8:45 a.m. We couldn’t get any free flight replacements until mid afternoon, and I had to work today, so that was my best option.
So Julie and I camped out in a chair all night in the airport getting maybe an hour of sleep. The PA system kept blaring pre-recorded announcements. We saw NO staff from American Airlines trying to help us overnight.
As I walked around the airport, people were camped out everywhere–in doorways, on the bare floor, in fast food restaurant booths, and on cots and in chairs. It sort of looked like a scene from Walking Dead or the day after the Jonestown Massacre.
Frustrating that if people had gone the extra mile (or just done their job) to help, this could have been avoided, but there was NO customer support or care, except for the one young woman and flight crews we saw.
This morning there was a ton of activity as people tried to get new connections. Most flights were overbooked, and gate changes were akin to musical chairs. Our flight kept saying it was ON TIME, but when it said boarding in 1 minute, the worker informed us we were waiting on a flight crew. One hour later and still waiting I asked for an update and was told she had told us. The flight crew finally arrived from Chicago and we boarded and left at 10:00 a.m. arriving in LR by 11 a.m.
Not a pleasant experience and a huge black eye for American Airlines. If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, I will never fly with American again, or there is no leadership from DFW and American Airlines. I am not sure why this happened.
I made it home by 11:30 and showered and changed and headed to Conway for MG training. They had some great speakers, which I missed this morning, but I did get to hear a partial talk on native plants, and I covered Vegetable gardening all afternoon. I headed home in time to switch cars and go to dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary at Acadia. It was a bittersweet dinner, as Acadia (where son Kyle has been sous chef since Feb) announced last week that they are closing on Tuesday, June 30. This has been our go-to restaurant for years, and we are saddened to lose it, and even sadder for Kyle, since this has been his dream job. But as I told Kyle, when one door closes, another opens, so we hope he finds a replacement that can come close to this.
Now I think it is time to sleep!