Garden Failures

I tend to only take photos of successes. 
But just so I never forget, and to give you fair warning -
here are the celosia (boooo hisssss) I planted for some annual highlighting this year. 
In my own defense, they were $0.50 per cell pack. 
Pretty cheap annuals, but definitely NOT worth it. That's it!
I'm swearing off celosia for good. 
*Well, except for cockscomb, celosia cristata.
Who can resist those fluorescently brainiac beauties?

Other garden failures for this year, since I'm making my garden confession:
- planting my limelight in too deep shade. they don't look like this at all.
- putting annual blue salvia in a container. they got MUCH too big and fell all over the vinca
causing them to mildew in the ugliest way.
- planting that other salvia in containers and thinking it would all turn out differently this year 
just because i chose purple and melon. that's it!!  
I'm swearing off (that other) salvia for good!!!
- nicotinia - how dismal. maybe it was positioned too close to that other salvia.
- and sadly, my most shameful confession.
i tried delphinium again, this time in a container. 
OK ... and 4 (FOUR) other plants in the garden beds - they were on clearance. 
now they are menacing brown clumps of former stems, landscape eyesores.
that's it!!!
but no. i can never swear off delphinium. 
my ridiculous cottage garden ambitions will not allow it.
maybe someday i'll learn the trick to raising delphinium, but until then, i'll have 
 false indigo to keep me company.



This was the sky a few nights ago. 

At least it was OUR sky from OUR backyard. We all have a personal patchwork corner of the sky, don't we? Don't you? When dealing with an outbreak of illness, I have even laid claim to a tiny bit of the sky as seen, by day and by night, from the window closest to my bed. It has often occurred to me what a harsh deprivation it would be to have no access to the sky.

 From his spot on the couch, one of my guys called attention to it - "Look at that, Mom!" We all piled out to the back porch to stand in the middle of our acre and gawk at the balefully-colored, rolling clouds. In silence, we considered the meaning of a sky like this one. My youngest finally spoke his unease aloud -  "What's going to happen?"  Every one of us felt small and helpless standing under a sky like this one.  

And I think that's an important reality check for adults and teenagers alike. 
We ARE small!
 We ARE helpless!
That night, God reminded us of our actual  state of being, and with ultimate efficiency, reminded us who He is. 
He is BIG

*** How miraculous to be invited to rest in the safety of One so capable! ***

“It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. 
God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.”
John Piper


Lying Petunias

Why are petunias so deceptive?
Every spring, I scour the garden stores, reading petunia tags filled with promises. 
Just the names are suspiciously pompous:
"Proven Winner"
And the pie-in-the-sky descriptions!
"self cleaning"
"drought tolerant"
"5 foot spread"


Perhaps I have so much petunia disappointment because I can't bring myself to follow this advice:
"...newer varieties that say they don’t require deadheading 
will benefit from a pinching or shearing mid-season."*
While I am an avid pruner, it is beyond me to get out the clippers 
and shear a star-player in my summer containers. 
Although by ignoring this pointer, I know I will soon be yanking bloomless
petunia plants and pitching them into the side yard to be mown over.

This year I made a petunia splurge buy** at a schmancy garden store, and friends, I paid premium price 
for that single yellow and white striped beauty. Even though I planted it in optimal conditions and 
made sure it was properly watered - it's long gone leaving nothing but hateful, brown stems.

 Among the petunias I bought this spring THIS is the only one that 
remains healthy, compact and blooming well. 
It came from the lowly Walmart garden section, thrown into the cart to keep company with a pack of chicken breasts, an unfortunate mascara choice, and a box of dog bones.

You just never can tell, can you!?

* more useful info on petunias here
** $3.84 for one annual bedding plant is way inside my splurge category.

Side Note:
You never can tell who the Lord will call to serve in His kingdom - those from the lowliest beginnings often seem to end up as one of His favorite instruments of grace! 
"... God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise..."  I Corinthians 1:26-29

You never can tell what the Lord will use in the lives of His children to create beauty. Sometimes the most harsh and cutting circumstances lead to rejuvenation and then, rejoicing!  
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8


Head in the Clouds

We did a LOT of driving in June, trekking to the Smoky Mountains and 
Virginia Beach. On our last day of vacation, instead of dozing with head 
lolling for the entertainment of the all, I was snapping these.

Does anyone see the elephant in these clouds?
A scary clown???

In the home stretch, there was a heated ABC Game*, with a unsolvable snarl 
around letter 'X'.  I ended up on the losing team.
So glad to be home and back in familiar routines!

*The ABC Game - Our Version This can be played as an all car game or as a competition between teams, persons, rows, etc.  I prefer the competition since I want to be the winner, of course. Work your way through the alphabet, in order, finding words on signs, buildings, trucks, other cars, license plates - anything. 

- Yell out your word and tack on irritating celebration phrases like, "Take that, Sucka!" (I'm sharing the most polite examples here.) If you have a wicked laugh, throw that in too.

- No abbreviated words or acronyms allowed: KOA does not count for letter 'K'. 
Especially since the 'K' in that word stands for 'Kampgrounds', one of those nasty intentional misspellings. 

- No reusing exactly the same word by multiple teams/players:
 " 'C' - Cracker!" 
"Oh! 'C' for us too - Cracker!"
Nope. No way, no how. Find your own C.
Same word found on different signs - that's (reluctantly) allowed.

- Special allowances are made for Q and X and maybe Z, if you get that far. Any word CONTAINING one of these can count.  

- Placing a friendly bet can keep things interesting. Some examples: 
Winner gets to choose the radio station for 50 miles.
Loser carries the winner's luggage.
Winner gets first bed choice. 
Winner gets to order first at the next restaurant.
Loser cleans the garbage out of the car at the next stop.
Winner gets to choose a treat at the next gas station.
Loser may not speak for an hour ... (a personal favorite)