Monday, November 14, 2016

Things that Suck About Social Media


From a Grandma's perspective:

1.   People posting pictures of themselves standing in front of restroom mirrors.

2.   People that post pictures of themselves drunk.

3.   Pictures of couples in various poses of “in heat”.

4.   Having a public fight – back and forth for everyone to see.

5.   Over sharing.

6.   Assuming your prejudices aren’t bias because you’re right.

7.   Posting everything is either wonderfully perfect or everything is horribly awful depending on how your day is going.

8.   Inflicting your drama on every situation.
"Blaze Climber"

9.   Repeatedly posting pictures of yourself to get compliments.

10.      Women posting pictures of cleavage to get attention.

11.      Guys posting pictures of dangerous behavior and thinking it’s macho.

12.      Making fun of pictures of people you don’t know.

13.    Using social media to bully.

14.                 Spouses or significant others posting mean jokes about their mates.

15.                 People reposting news that everyone gets anyway.

16.                 Posting an obscure comment to get people to ask what you’re talking about and then refusing to talk about it.

17.                 Posting a guilt trip “if you don’t like, share or forward this” you don’t love God, don’t care about sick children, aren’t my friend etc. etc.

18.                 Linking God’s goodness to how many posts, likes, or shares a post gets.
"Joseph's Coat"

19.                 Not checking facts before reposting an Internet scare.

20.                 Posting private pictures of other people without getting permission.

21.                 Fictional stories told as real just to get people to cry.

22.                 People who think re posting/liking/sharing something on social media is actually activism and being involved in making the world better.

23.                 Making every situation black or white, right or wrong, red or blue, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, as a way to negate the other person’s opinion or feelings.

24.                 Pictures of people with their tongues sticking out.

25.                 Video recording events with low-tech equipment that isn’t possible to see, hear or play.

26.                 Businesses that use their social media to talk negative about a customer or other businesses.
"New Dawn"

27.                 Businesses using social media to only promote themselves with no value to their customers.

28.                 Changing your profile picture daily to get people to compliment you or otherwise posting pictures of yourself over and over and over.

29.                 Using social media to complain or put down others when the mature way to handle would be discuss rationally in person and in private.

30.                 Not thinking about the future ramifications of comments in a world where threats, indiscretions, sexually explicitness, how you dress, maturity, grammar and profanity will be one measure of how you’re judged for acceptance into a job, a marriage or relationship, another’s family and friends, and legal situations. 

31.                 Claiming “it’s not right or fair” for others to judge you by your social media activities is naive – it’s a fact of life and becoming more so.  Learning and changing your own behavior shows maturity.     
I call this "pink climber" - I know not very original
but I've lost the name of this beauty.

 I've posted pictures of my climbing roses just because they were so beautiful this year.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Standing Tall

Why use tall plants around your yard? 
  •      Plants at the back of a garden bed increases layering and structure.
  •      Block out an unattractive feature.
  •      Buffer noise.
  •      Provide shade.
  •      Increase privacy and security.

Eupatorium standing to the left of the stump
is about 7 foot tall.
Layering, by putting tall plants at the back of a bed, gives continuous texture and color.  Layering with plants that bloom at different times of the year provides continuous attraction.

Combined with structural hard scapes (fencing, trellis and etc.) tall plants hide a wealth of unsightly or annoying issues.  A tall privacy or safety fence can be rather stark.  Add climbing or tall plants and it becomes an asset.   

Without hardscapes, try tall thin plants at the back such Juniper bush “Sky Rocket.”  By using thin evergreens, another layer of plants can go in front of them to soften.

Delphiniums, Foxglove, Hollyhock, ornamental grasses, milkweed and Oriental Lilies are a few tall perennials for sunny locations.  Try some of the huge tall Hosta for shade.

Annual morning glory on a
clothesline support.
Thick plants work best for noise buffering.  Evergreens especially do well all year but if summer is your only concern then heavy leafed tall bushes work.  Using layers provides a denser buffer. 

Shade plantings can be tricky.  Put some thought into it before you buy and plant.  Evergreens are slow growing and block breezes.  If they are planted close to a patio you may not get the shade you want nor the cooling you need.  On the flip side if wind is so strong you can’t put a paper plate down then dense evergreens are good.  A deciduous (loses leaves yearly) tree should not be planted close enough to structures or patios that the roots will cause problems.  When mature they will provide great shade but make sure they don’t have fruits, nuts, pods, sticky sap or thorns that will cause constant upkeep.  Large amounts of shade will limit other plantings to those that can survive without much sun.

 Plants used for privacy have the same issues as all of the above but they are a wonderful solution if you want some space between you and what’s outside your borders.  The old joke “fences makes good neighbors” is pretty much true unless you don’t maintain your borders and that’s another issue. 

Annual sunflowers hiding my vegetables.
There are quite a few tall annuals that will provide bright color all summer:  Cleome, Castor Oil Beans, sunflowers, salvia, Nicotiana and many quick growing vines.

The Victorians used to have round flower beds with tall plants in the middle and layered by height to the edges.  It is really quite beautiful and structured.

Another solution is to have a structure or posts for hanging pots.  It requires more watering but it can add height especially if the plant vine down and you have several. 

Another option for tall is potted plants.  One of my favorites is the wonderfully fragrant Brugmansia.  Potted plants (including evergreens) can be moved as the sun changes position throughout the summer.

Large gardens, small gardens, patios, balconies and roof tops can all benefit from tall plants.  Consider them in your future designs.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Best of Everything

I've added some Facebook pictures from some of
my favorite local nurseries.  This is from Nature's Creations,
Galva IL
In the spring, a gardener's fancy turns to wanting the most beautiful pre-made potted flowers in the local nursery.  You KNOW you do.  Walk an isle in the nursery and hanging at eye level are the most beautiful perfect flower arrangements just waiting to decorate your home.  Or walk by that bench with the latest unusual pots filled with new plant wonders that you KNOW you neeeeeeeed.  
From Sunnyfield Nursery, Kewanee IL
Inexperienced and old timers both feel the draw of getting instant and perfect beauty.  And most of the flowers are at their peak of beauty and perfection in springtime.  Now the question:  Should you buy a filled pot if it looks the best it's ever going to look?  Clue:  There's not right or wrong answers.
From Distinctive Gardens, Dixon IL
The answer depends on what you wish to achieve and when.  But the truth is you can't have it all.  Oh how many times have we heard that little truth and cringed.  

If you buy a hanging planter at it's peak of bloom and beauty in May, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to have it still at this peak come August.  The exception is slow growing annuals such as some succulents and shade plants.  
From Dew Fresh Market, Kewanee IL
Some nurseries will pack their pre-made potted flowers/foliage with so many flowers they will be totally root bound by middle summer.  Think about pictures you see on your favorite social media sites of planters and the ones used in decorator books.  They have tall, full, lush plants of many varieties and looking perfect.  If you can't resist these, you need to keep gently repotting into larger containers as the months progress.  Don't break up the mass, simply add more potting soil to the bottom and sides.  Or, immediately take it out of the nursery container and repot into something much larger.

This beauty on my porch stayed lush and 
lovely all summer.  Sorry about the whipped cream 
container aka tacky cat watering bowl.
Some nurseries focus on the design more than compatibility.  We've all had one of those that something immediately dies and something bullies out the others - no matter what we do.  That said,  many of our local nurseries do such a great job of putting planted pots together it will look wonderful for months.   

I've heard gardeners blame the nursery for a pot that's gone over the  hill towards the later part of summer.  Most of the time, it's not their fault as much as it's "the way it is"with annual plants in pots.  
Hornbaker, Princton IL
Even if you pinch/prune back religiously, water the proper amount and fertilize appropriately some plants feel the end of the season coming and will simply not make it through the season.  In that case, take out the still blooming plants and move them to little places that need color in your garden beds.  Compost the ones that aren't doing well.  If you still want color in the fall, get new plants such as mums, pansies and some lovely foliage plants.  I suggest preparing the pots as you do in the spring by washing, disinfecting and using new potting soil.  No sense dooming a new plant right from the start.
Red Barn Nursery, Sheffield IL
If you want to take the middle road, buy spring pots that haven't quite started to bloom fully.  

The fact is no matter if you want to have blooms early or late, there will be a time when you probably won't have it perfect every day, all the time, the entire summer.  One fact for certain, our area nurseries have a wonderful selection of potted plants or plants to make your own at home.  

(Note:  All our area nurseries have wonderful potted examples in every style and price range.  When purchasing, be sure to ask just exactly how to care for them.  They know and want you to have the best season with your purchase.)  

Thursday, November 3, 2016


How often have we read or heard "It's the Establishment" or "It's the Man" or "It's the System" or similar protest comments?

I always have a bit of a chuckle because they are often spoken by a high profile person and that often translates into someone who is wealthy.  While protesting the establishment and successful business persons, they are in fact "the man and part of the establishment and system."

How did that happen?  Because people often want to be successful at their chosen profession.  During the initial process, they may become involved in philosophical discussions about the evil of being wealthy or having power over others.  Then one day, low and behold, they have reached the level of success where they are now in a position of power and success.  But, they are still talking like they have on bell bottom pants and tie die shirts.  

A few continue to help their causes while others talk the talk but haven't caught on it's now time to make the difference they've criticized others for not taking. 

Although I was of the era, I wanted to say to John and Yoko "get out of bed and actually do something."  Or persons flying into town at the slightest hint of racial troubles but are long gone when the citizens actually need long term leadership.  

It takes hard work to make a difference.  Once the youthful idealism becomes midlife realism, it's time to make that difference. For those that have transferred those dreams into helping others, you are the ones that should be featured on the daily news.  You are the heroes of your generation.