Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Stroll In The Garden

No Words, Just Pictures . . . .

A picture is worth a thousand . . .
Bye for now, Alyssa

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Don't Let This Happen To You ! !

I know it's a bit melodramatic but this is what happens when you buy a cheap birdbath and leave it out over the winter. I noticed after our last bout of freezing temps, that there was a hairline crack in the bowl. Later I was trying to empty some watery ice from it and it fell apart in my hands and into the garden. I suppose I should have brought it in but . . . .

this concrete birdbath I've had for at least 10 years and have left it out all the time. And not one problem. Steve got this for me as a gift and paid quite a bit for it back then. And it is worth every penny. I want to replace the broken one but there aren't any birdbaths out at the stores yet. But . . . .

instead of birdbaths, I found these cute planters. Actually, they are quite big - about 8 - 10" across and heavy! They were at my local Steins Garden Center where I also stocked up on animal repellent to do battle against the deer, rabbits, and my true nemesis, the crafty vole. Yes, he's (or it's) back and No, I don't think it was ever gone. He's eaten tulip bulbs and tunneled around the Main Garden as well as moving into an abandoned chipmunk hole conveniently located a foot away from said Garden. But . . .

he hasn't made his way to my little pond. This is an interesting story - trust me - it is. In this very spot was a huge and wonderful oak tree that I loved - I called it the "Old Man Tree". Sadly, it had chlorosis and couldn't be saved and died. When it was cut down, Steve built a garden surrounded by rocks (two layers high) and added a plastic pond form. Here is how it turned out . . .

Very beautiful and I have fish and plants in it during the summer. I have 3 large orange and white comets (like giant goldfish) and 4 small shubunkins (poor man's koi) that are wintering in our basement in a large kiddy pool with a bubble stone in it just waiting for it to warm up a bit. I also have a small fountain in it and the sound of splashing water is wonderful. The birds and creatures love it and

this Green frog lived in it all summer. He became very tame as you can see. In fall he wanted to stay in the pond but would have died so I put him in a container and drove him to a small river near our home. I felt bad 'cause I'd never see him again, but happy that he had a real home of his own. Hopefully, another frog will visit us this summer.

Steve hauled the rocks from different places on our land and figured out how they would fit together best. As you can see, he isn't a big guy, but he's very strong and muscled all these rocks around with just that red dolly! It took him about two weekends of solid work and he created a wonderful focal point for the back garden. He loves working with rocks and has done many beautiful projects around the house and gardens. He has a special knack for it and I wish he'd been able to do it as his life's work. Unfortunately, he ended up in the same factory I work in. Actually I'm glad he did, otherwise we'd never have met.

To make this long story short, the pond is a memorial to the big old oak who stood in that spot for almost 80 years. A fitting one, I think.

Last Fall I planted miniature species tulips and scilla around the pond and if you look closely at this picture, you can see another creature that is visiting.

Bye for now,


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Come See My Garden

Hello Everyone. Here is what is blooming in southeastern Wisconsin:

1. Daffodils

2. Species tulips

3. Striped squill

4. Wild violets

5. Scilla siberica

6. Scilla bifolia

7. Hyacinth

8. Chionodoxa

(these last three are blooming inside)

9. Violas

10. African violets

11. Fibrous begonias


And here are some pretty photos:

All of these flowers, with the exception of the African violets, were laying on the ground, very sad looking. They still had alot of substance so I decided to pick them and enjoy them inside. They've perked up quite nicely....don't you agree?

These smell as fantastic as they look!

How fabulous they look in the sunlight!

I know this isn't quite fair, but they did just begin to bloom last week and are very pretty.

Attack of the giant viola! ! ! This poor little guy and his friends really want to be planted outside. They are getting very leggy. Hopefully this week.

Unhappy snow angel is only wearing a light dress - I had a hard time taking her picture because she was shivering so much! BUT. . . . .

. . . . . . today things have improved greatly and all is right with the world.

I am amazed how the gardens have bounced back after our awful weather. It will surely be an interesting gardening year if the past weeks are any indication of things to come!

Please visit me again. All gentle creatures are welcome.

Bye for now,


There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. (Mirabel Osler , "A Gentle Plea for Chaos" 1989)

Friday, April 13, 2007

" I'd been through so much, falling short again and again, and only recently had found a place where who I was, right now, was more than enough."

hi! ashley here, i'm alyssa's grandaughter. i got a chance to come on here and read a few of her posts. i saw she had made a post about me, which was one of those things you read and get all fuzzy inside. since she took the time out to write one about me i figured i'd sneak on here and write one about her, to tell how amazing she really is.... and maybe brag a little myself. well i guess i can start with how cute she is. her face is perfect, and she's so short- adorable. not only is she cute, but she is also probably the most intelligent person i know. she know's something about everything. she has a view and knowlage about almost everything so starting a conversation is like eating a piece of pie. she always knows the right things to say and when to say them. everyone has a bad day once in a while, and she is the perfect person to go to when it's one of those days. just seeing her makes me smile. her yard and gardens look like a botanical garden and a park put together. she takes such pride in her gardening, which she should because they are always better than outstanding. she plays the piano. i wish i could fall asleep everyday to her playing. she can cook and bake like nobody's buisness too! well steve just left to go pick her up from work, so this is all the bragging i have time for. i can say that i am one of the luckiest grandaughters in the entire world to have a grandma like her. she is beautiful and smart and so talented. she makes my life 900 times better by just being in it. i love her more than words could ever explain! i love you alyssa!

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Thought And Pictures For Today

Whatever befalls the earth

befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.

We did not weave the web of life;

We are merely a strand in it.

Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves . . . .

Chief Seattle (1788-1866)
Native American (Suquamish) leader

Friday, April 6, 2007

Elephants - Wonderful Creatures In A Wonderful Place

I'm very upset about a short, ugly video that I just saw on YouTube. It was from Israel and took place in a "zoo" of some sort. A male elephant was seen killing a smaller female in an small enclosure viewed by the public. I am furious that something like that could happen in this day and age. Males aren't generally kept in US zoos because of their unpredictability and should never be kept with females.
You see, elephants are a special love of mine and I'm going to tell you of a special place here in the US that is for old, sick, and "troublesome" elephants from zoos, circuses, and other such questionable places. This Eden for elephants is called The Elephant Sanctuary and is located on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee and is a natural habitat refuge for the retired Asian and African elephants. All of the pictures you see here are some of the twenty "girls" that reside there.
This is the motto for the Sanctuary:
The Elephant Sanctuary exists for two reasons:
To provide a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, old-growth forests, spring-fed ponds and a heated barn for cold winter nights.
To provide education about the crisis facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense, playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent and endangered creatures.

The co-founders are Carol Buckley and Scott Blais who have created a wonderful environment and are truly concerned about and love elephants. Because this is a sanctuary, there is no viewing of the animals or interaction with anyone except the caretakers and veterinarians. They are being allowed, for the the first time in their lives ,to be "elephants" as they were originally intended.
Their web site , http://www.elephants.com/ is a heartwarming and fun place to visit. Children love it and so do adults. Please visit it - you won't be sorry.
I sponsor an old elephant named Delhi. I chose her because ,like me, she is "over 55" they say. Also, (yes like me) she has a small pot belly and is short and appears stout. She's 8 feet tall and weighs 7,100lbs (no, not like me!) , has large feathery ears, and her favorite food is carrots. She is an Indian elephant and is the upper right picture. Her trunk is a very speckled grey.
Since my sister Cindy introduced me to the Sanctuary I also sponsor an elephant under her name. This "girl's" name is (you guessed it!!) Sissy. Sissy is also an Asian elephant, 8'6" tall, 8,700 lbs and loves carrots too. She lived most of her life alone in a zoo (elephants are extremely social) and had to be inventive for companionship. She became attached to a car tire years ago and now carriers one with her nearly everywhere. A type of security blanket. The lower left picture is Sissy and you can see her trusty tire just to the side of her.

I also support the Sanctuary by purchasing various items from their store as well as sending money during the year. It's the least I can do.
When you read about the previously sad lives these creatures had it will break your heart but the Sanctuary is trying to give them peace and dignity. I think that is what any living creature deserves. There are so many interesting stories and wonderful pictures to view there and this month another addition to the family is slated to arrive. A 42 year old elephant named Dulary from the Philadelphia Zoo will be gaining her freedom and joining her "sisters". It will be exciting.
So, after seeing that horrific video I just had to let others know about the good people in Tennessee who are making a difference for these fantastic creatures.
Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant,
The only harmless great thing.
John Donne (1572 - 1631)

Bye for now,