Thursday, July 31, 2008

My First Thankful Thursday

This blog is not about flowers; this is a new concept that I will be doing on Thursdays.

Today is the first day of Thankful Thursday. Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses has been doing Thankful Thursday on her blog, and her readers would leave notes of what they were thankful for in the comment box. For the first time today we are blogging as a group with links back to Rhondi.
It was a tough decision on what to start with. I had a lot of ideas, and I didn't want this to go on forever. Here is what I decided to start with and what is truly in my heart:

I am thankful to be an American. I remember when I was young the big question was why was I born here; how did I end up with these parents on this continent? Why me? I was always a big thinker, even as a kid. But the facts are that all over the world there is misery, starvation, and war. How did I get so lucky to be chosen to live in this country where I can be what I want to be, worship how I want to worship, drive from state to state without restrictions, leave the country whenever I want, go to school to get an education, and vote for my leaders! When I stop to think about it, the whole concept blows me away. I'll never have the answers, only God knows. But until I get a chance to ask Him, I will forever be thankful to be free; thankful to be an American.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shades of Pink

This is Jane Marie coming straight to you after covering the Bloggy Carnival. It's been a hectic week but I think things might settle down now. To date there are almost 800 bloggers giving things away. If you haven't stopped in, check out the sidebar for more info.
In the meantime the cotillion is still in full swing. The dancer are slowing a little but it's just to have more time to enjoy each other's company.

Three new guests arrived and they're all in shades of pink. They surely look pretty standing together.

First is Susan Weber. She's a big girl, strong and sturdy, but still as feminine as can be. Ruffles seem to suit her.

Illini Destiny has a goal to live in Chicago. Maybe I should introduce her to the other guests from Illinois who are at the ball; Illini Jackpot, Chicago Arnie's Choice and Chicago Picotee Queen. Chicago Apache has not made an appearance yet. The Windy City is well represented.

Dublin Elaine -- aah, look at this beauty. I expected her to be in green since she hails from the Emerald Isle, but Elaine chose the most stunning shade of pink I have seen in a while. It looks fantastic with that Irish red hair, doesn't it? She's so lovely that I chose her portrait for my computer screen. Take a closer look if you like, she won't mind a bit.

Well, I'm only expecintg a few more arrivals, perhaps 6-8. Some haven't started getting ready yet. I guess they prefer August to the rush of July. So until they choose to grace us with their presence, this is Jane Marie at Serendipity Garden.

Did you see the giveaway on yesterday's post? You'll love it!
And check out An Herbal Bedfellow for a giveaway of it's own.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Burpee Sea Magic Giveaway

Yes, that's right, I have another product from Burpee to tell you about.
Have you heard of their Sea Magic Seaweed Growth Activator? I had not heard of it before a few months ago. So I decided to give it a try. I had just planted my new tomato plants and had not planned to use a fertilizer.
I don't use chemicals on my vegetable plants, so this seemed like just the right product for me. It's actually dried seaweed harvested from the North Atlantic.

All you have to do is pour one package of Sea Magic Seaweed Growth Activator in a gallon of water to make a concentrate.(It smells like the ocean) Then measure the correct amount into water for either outdoor or indoor plants. Add it to your regular feeding program or use alone. When added to water, one package can make up to 30 gallons of growth activator.

Here are my young tomato plants after a heavy rain. I had not started any kind of fertilizer program. June 15, 2008

Here the plants are a little larger, and I put on the cages in preparation for future growth. This is when I started to use the Sea Magic. June 29, 2008

Already there is a remarkable improvement! Click for a closer look and you can see the top of the cages. I had used the Sea Magic only twice. July 17, 2008

Today, on July 27, 2008, you can see how healthy the leaves are. These plants are huge now -- thick, lush, and green! I'm wishing I had used stakes instead of cages. The tomatoes are still green and small, but at this rate it won't be long before I'll have plenty to use in the kitchen.

Here's the good news!

Now I can tell you that I have two packets to give to each of FIVE winners!

1. All you have to do is go to the Burpee website, and tell me what your favorite spring bulb is to grow or which one you'd like to try next year. Remember to make your answer interesting; in other words, please don't just write "tulips." In case a winner who was chosen at random does not contact me within three days of notification, I will choose my favorite answer as the next one to win.

2. Make sure you leave your email address so I can reach you. You can leave it like this: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. This way you won't be a victim of spam. Blogger does not show me your email address from your sign-in and there are several contest sites being used so it is impossible for me to know who you are.

3. If you would like a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber. If you're already a subscriber, you are already entered! Remain a subscriber to be entered in any future giveaways. There's still more contests to come.

The contest ends on Thursday, July 31 at 11:59 PM (EDT). I will notify you by e-mail, and then you will have three days to claim your prize and send me your mailing address.
Good Luck!!!

Remember that Burpee has a special offer for Thyme for Herbs readers only. You can find it on the sidebar at the top of the page.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Guests Are Tiring!

I'm back, This is Jane Marie after a few days off. Last Sunday was the best day of the season for Serendipity Garden Cotillion. Since then it's been a little down hill. Don't get me wrong; the ballroom floor is still full and there's plenty of action. But it's obvious things are slowing down and the guests are tiring. Each day there is more and more grooming to be done in order the keep the guest looking their best.

Well, look who finally showed up! It's Wilson Spider! I hope you're not afraid because Wilson is one of the biggest spiders I have. Girls, please don't fret. Trust me, he's harmless. He's 7 inches across, and I know they say size doesn't matter, but .. well.. you know... :)

Savannah Debutante is a true Southern belle. She took her good ole sweet time showing up, but it was well worth the wait. She brings with her grace, charm, and elegance and she's as pretty as a Georgia peach besides.

Miracle Maid has spent many hours sewing her own gown for the evening. She has so much work to do normally that it's difficult to find the time, but just like Cinderella, she wanted so badly to be at the ball for just once in her life. She is truly a beauty but she has been so rushed today that she does not show it as well as she could. It's a Miracle that she was even allowed in.

Well, the ball is coming to a close. There are still many hours left for dancing and swaying but soon it will all come to an end. I try not to look on the downside of things, because there are still some latecomers who haven't arrived yet. We'll keep on reporting the new events and keep you up to date with the latest happenings. But sadly some of the earlier guests have already left the building.
This is Jane Marie from the Serendipity Gardens.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why Are Wrens So Happy?

My wren friends make me happy. As soon as I wake up, I hear them singing. They're out in the garden all day, following me around with their happy song.

Yes, I'm talking about you, little bird!!(click for a closer view of the look on his face when he heard me talking about him)
What makes them so happy? I think I finally have the answer!

They get to spend all day in the garden, my garden, with all of my pretty flowers. And they don't have to clean house!!! Or pay bills!!! Or buy groceries!!! Or cook supper!!! Or work a full time job!!! Or do errands!!!

But that's okay, because I love my wrens and I want them to be happy!

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Froggy Heaven

No, I'm not done with my daylily cotillion, but I think it's time for a small break. I thought I would show you a picture of Froggy Heaven Pond. There are lots of gnats swarming in columns overhead and the mosquitoes are plentiful. I guess they like the menu plan!
This is what I found this morning in my back yard. Most were more than eager to pose for the camera. I can hear "ribbits" all through the day! It's a very joyous sound to me. Add this to the bird calls, the running water of the water fall, the colors of my garden, and I'm a happy woman. Now, where's that good book I was reading?

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Than Just a Daylily!

This is Jane Marie back with you today at the excitement going on at the cotillion.
My guests here at the Serendipity Garden are more than just daylilies to me. They are my reason for getting through July. I don't like hot sticky weather, but my lily friends do. They encourage me to go out in my garden every day instead of hiding in the air conditioning. I'm grateful to them for that. So I say to them, thank you for attending my ball.
Today, it was a bit cooler but then the clouds rolled in this afternoon and now we're having another rain. Luckily, I was able to catch these two party goers before the deluge started.

This is Over the Edge. Some say she dresses a little over the top but I think she's just fine. I love the way a ray of sunshine seemed to follow her around like a spotlight. As far as I'm concerned, she's the star of the show today.

Purple Storm always has a dark brooding look to his eye. But that can be quite deceptive, actually. The lavender/pink leads us to believe he has a lighter side.

What's this? Mrs. Chalmondeley, a Clematis, is lurking in the corner. I didn't notice her until this morning. I have no idea how long she has been there watching the arrivals. It's nice to know there is still some interest in the cotillion.
So until next time, this is Jane Marie. Have a good day.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot and Humid

Thank you for coming out in the hot and humid weather. We're all wilting a bit but our daylily friends seem to be holding up quite well. I think they rather enjoy it. Since I was busy covering a car show yesterday -- yes I said a car show -- I'll catch you up on the Sunday arrivals.

Capernaum Sin is the first to arrive. He seems to thrive in the humidity, and the mosquitoes don't bother him a bit. I guess that's how it is when you're willing to go to the dark side.

Chicago Blackout arrived in quite a tizzy after a loss of electricity in his home town. He still managed to dress as a proper gentleman should but don't tell him I said so, but doesn't he look a little lopsided today?

Saratoga Pinwheel, a first timer, came all the way from New York. Her family tree shows that she is a descendant of brave soldiers who fought in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Today she is famous in her own right. She's well-known for her ballerina type spins, round and round. Quite showy, actually.

And oh, look at Malaysian Monarch. (sigh) I have waited for her arrival for almost two years. And I can tell you it was well worth the wait. She rivals even Madame Butterfly in her beauty and size.

I think this is it for the guest arrivals for today. They seem to be slowing down a bit although there a quite a few names on the guest list yet. There is more time needed for grooming now, so maybe that delays them a bit. I'm sure when they do arrive we'll be very pleased to see them all, so stay tuned. This is Jane Marie from the Serendipity Garden Cotillion.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tropical Plants at Meijer Gardens

This will be my last post from Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In case you haven't read previous posts, I visited the gardens on July 4th and took so many pictures, it was impossible to include them all.

Today I am going to take you through the Tropical Gardens. My favorite time of year to go here is in the spring when there is a butterfly show. The photo ops then are fantastic. Exotic butterflies are flying everywhere and sometimes actually land on your arm or shirt. Maybe next spring I'll be able to make it.

For the most part, the rest of this post will be very light on words.

Orchid area:

Do you see the butterfly or moth?

Click for a closeup. The one in the back looks like a spider!

Silver Dollar Fern

Caterpillar Fern

This is one of the most popular exhibitions. Here is a description of American Horse, one of two in the world. This detailed copy of da Vinci's original, which was destroyed in 1499, was commissioned by the gardens. The second one was given to Italy to replace the first.

This miniature American Horse was commissioned a little later when they realized that people with visually challenged could not understand the size and proportions. Here they can run their hands over it to get a better idea.

American Horse and Duane, showing you how it relates to an average male and the surroundings.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of Meijer Gardens.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs.

An Exceptional Day

It was an exceptional day here at Serendipity Garden. It was very hot and humid all day but still there was quite a showing. Before the day was through, the rain started to come in and once again this morning there are showers to dampen the spirits of the guests. Well, actually nothing stops them from having a good time; I guess it dampened my spirits! Here are the interviews I was able to capture in the short time I had a chance.

Dragon King is not really showing his Chinese robes off as well as he could. He is usually sporting a satin robe, embroidered in the finest red threads.

Illini Jackpot came straight from the gaming tables. He looks a little tired; It must have been a long night. I hoped his winnings were large!

Anzac has not had a chance to awaken completely. He really shouldn't come until he is fully alert.

The next guest is Brookwood Impeccable. She is always perfectly groomed. I have never seen her coif in disarray.

Hot Town has so much energy today he looks like he is on fire! Now the party should start heating up. I hope it doesn't get out of control!

Oh, here's Lime Frost. She is just arriving also. She'll help to keep Hot Town cooled down. She always has such a way with him!

Bull Durham is one of my newest acquaintances. I just met him on Wednesday. Now that he's here, I'm not sure why I invited him. He's not as impressive as I first thought. I hope it wasn't a mistake. Maybe it's just being in a new surrounding that does not show him in the best light. We'll see.

Kindly Light is a new friend also, and claims to be one of those guests that gentle everything down. Heavenly breezes seem to follow her everywhere. She is as beautiful as an angel.

Golden Compass really impressed me when I first met him on Wednesday. He claims he never loses his way. I hope his lives up to all of his bragging.

Well folks, I must run for cover, my umbrella is leaking. I'll be back when I have more guests who have dried off and ready to show their garments. Until then, happy gardening! This is Jane Marie signing off.